Joint declaration of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Greece on the resolution of the issue of toponyms, Brussels, 12 May 2014

During our recent discussions in Thessaloniki on May 8, in the margins of the EU- Western Balkans Ministerial meeting, we focused on the issue of the expression of geographical names (toponyms) of one country on documents of the other. It is of course well understood that the use of exonyms, as was the practice until now, was without prejudice to the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the neighbouring country. Today in Brussels, we agreed that it is necessary that these toponyms are expressed in a uniform way, in order to avoid the possible confusion that might arise from the various ways of translation or transliteration of a given name. As such, we have agreed that a recourse to the official catalogues that each country has submitted to the relevant body of the U.N. and other International Organizations, and particularly the ICAO standards, are the safest and most appropriate way for a solution to this issue which, however simple, has resulted in significant administrative problems for a great number of citizens. During the transitional period up to the preparation of the new documents, the free movement of citizens across the border of the two countries will be allowed, according to the existing “moratorium”practice. Ministers commit to take all legal and administrative actions/measures for the implementation of the aforementioned procedure, until the 1st of January, 2015, at the latest.

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