Matthew Palmer to visit Macedonia on Monday


Skopje, 19 October, 2018 - 13:07 (META) 

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer is scheduled to pay a visit to the Republic of Macedonia on Monday, announced the US Embassy via their social networks.

“Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer will arrive in Macedonia on Monday, October 22, to discuss US support for the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece, and the importance of continuing Macedonia’s reform agenda. He will meet representatives of the Government and political parties, including Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov,” the Embassy said.


Stoltenberg in Belgrade: NATO will accept Macedonia as soon as it adopts agreement with Greece


Belgrade, 8 October, 2018 - 16:22 (META) 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated today that the implementation of the name agreement with Greece is the only way to Macedonia’s NATO membership, and that there is no other way or plan B for the country’s admission to the military alliance.

“NATO is ready to accept Macedonia as the 30th member very soon after the implementation of the name agreement, but it is up to the citizens of Macedonia and its democratic institutions whether they will do it or not. We are ready. There is no plan B or an alternative to accession without the name agreement,” said Stoltenberg in a joint address to reporters with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after the opening of emergency rescue exercises “Serbia 2018” in Belgrade.

Stoltenberg said that NATO fully respects the war neutrality of Serbia and again regrets what he said about innocent victims of the 1999 bombing.

“We can not forget the past, but we can go further into the future,” Stoltenberg said, adding that partnership will benefit both Serbia and NATO.

Vucic said that Serbia is militarily neutral and that it will “jealously guard it”, but that it will not prevent it from having good cooperation with NATO.


Samaras: We gave them everything and everyone will call them Macedonians


Thessaloniki, 8 October, 2018 - 12:55 (META) 

We will not let them sell our Macedonia. I always supported the idea that we cannot give to Skopje the name Macedonia because simply put, from that moment on, everyone will begin officially addressing them not as Northmacedonians, Uppermacedonians, but only as Macedonians, said the former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, during his speech in front of the members of the Kavala Chamber of Commerce, at the official opening of the trading and business fair, said MIA’s correspondent.

He stressed that all future governments should reject the Prespa Agreement.

-With the Prespa Agreement, the Greek side officially gives Skopje the name Macedonia and a recognition of the nationality – alleged Macedonians and the recognition of the Macedonian language and recognition of the Macedonian identity. They gave them everything. Despite the real disagreements that existed in the past regarding the managing of the issue with different governments, no Greek politician ever accepted to recognize the Macedonian nation, language, and identity. No one – said Samaras.

As reports MIA’s correspondent from Athens, the former Greek Prime Minister, now a New Democracy MP, stresses that the opposition party, “as was announced by its party leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis will not vote for ratification, neither as a government nor as an opposition” and said that all next Greek governments will have to be released from the obligations stated in the Prespa Agreement.


The rift between Zaev and Ivanov is evident as Kathimerini reveals excerpts from the minutes


Athens, 2 October, 2018 - 12:20 (META) 

The minutes that were seen by journalists of the Kathimerini newspaper from the leadership meetings in Macedonia regarding the negotiations with Greece before the name agreement was to be signed in June show that the political leaders have thought that the agreement would be easier for signing with the left-wing government in Greece, informs Meta’s correspondent from Athens.

The two councils on January 27 and May 19 in Skopje were both chaired by President Gjorge Ivanov, informs Kathimerini. The first meeting took place less than two weeks before negotiations began in earnest under the aegis of United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz while the second was convened while the name Macedonia of Ilinden was being floated.

According to the minutes of the meetings – small excerpts of which were published on May 19 by German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – most of the elements of the Prespa agreement had already been agreed upon, with the exception of the name.

The minutes also reveal that, in January, Macedonia was not discussing the Greek demand for a constitutional review while the use of the name – internally and internationally – was under discussion.

The minutes make plain that Greece had agreed to recognize a Macedonian identity early on and a Macedonian language shortly thereafter. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was also seen in January to be keen on rapidly wrapping up the deal so that he could head for elections after the summer with a name agreement under his belt along with Greece’s bailout exit.

By May, however, this narrative had subsided. With regard to New Democracy, the minutes of the January council showed that its response to an agreement could be positive. However, this had changed by May, when Macedonia’s leader said a deal would not be achievable with an ND government. Both councils showed a clear chasm between Zaev’s government and Ivanov. The meetings also showed that there was concern about the dangers of Russian interference aimed at no-name deal being struck with Greece.

Meanwhile, the government’s spokesperson, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, has greeted the high percentage of the turnout of those who have voted “For” at the referendum on Sunday, expressing a concern of the lower turnout.

Regardless of the objections from their coalition partner Panos Kamenos that the low turnout means that the referendum is “invalid” Tzanakopoulos that the outcome is “a positive development for the ratification and implementation of the Prespa Agreement” signed between Athens and Skopje in June.

The New Democracy said yesterday that the referendum results have proven that “the nationally damaging Prespa Agreement is literally hanging by a thread”. Spokesperson Marija Spyraki said that Greece “cannot be a hostage of the situation in our neighboring country”.


Popov: Serbia’s activities in Macedonia are for the benefit of Russia’s interests


Novi Sad, 26 September, 2018 - 14:49 (META) 

The Director at the Novi Sad based Center for Regionalism, Aleksandar Popov, said today that Serbia is acting contrary to common sense and is sending a message when it comes to the forthcoming referendum in Macedonia, informs Meta’s correspondent from Belgrade.

-To Serbia as a neighboring country, it should be of interest to have stable relations in the region and it is certain that the achievement of the agreement between Greece and Macedonia is one step forward in this direction. Serbia’s behavior is the opposite of common sense because Serbia should be happy for the normalization of the relations in the region – said Popov for Beta agency.

Popov said that official Serbia has sent the first “bad message” when Zoran Zaev came to power because the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) had very good relations with the previous government that was led by right-wing party VMRO-DPMNE.

-It is obvious that the current government in Macedonia is neither close with the SNS nor it suits them. Unlike other countries, Serbia didn’t congratulate the achieving the agreement between Tsipras and Zaev about the name of the country. Following that, we had a case when the whole personnel of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje was withdrawn without explanation – said Popov.

Popov also said neither the appointment of the former Head of the Serbian Secret Service Rade Bulatovic for an Ambassador in Macedonia is a message in a good direction. He also said that the opinions that Serbia has been acting in Macedonia for the benefit of Russia in order to prevent Macedonia to become a NATO member, are not without ground


Former US President Bush urges citizens to vote “For” at the referendum


Washington, 19 September, 2018 - 10:47 (META) 

The Prespa Agreement is a courageous and fair compromise that will put Macedonia on its way towards EU and NATO and will provide a bright future. I call all citizens of Macedonia to vote at the referendum and to take part in this historic decision, said George Bush Jr., the former US President.

In a letter addressed to the Macedonian nation, that was published by the Atlantic Council in Washington, Bush wrote that since the first day of the Macedonian independence, the USA has been its steadfast friend.

-The American nation admired your peaceful emergence from the ashes of Yugoslavia. We respect your courage to uphold to democratic values and free institutions. I support your strive for accomplishing prosperity and security in Europe, that is whole, free and in peace – said Bush.


Stoltenberg: Russia is obstructing Macedonia’s accession into NATO and EU


Washington, 17 September, 2018 - 13:17 (META) 

NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, accused Russia that it obstructs Macedonia’s accession into the Alliance.

-Russia is trying to prevent Macedonia’s accession into NATO, similar to the situation in Montenegro where we saw an unsuccessful coup to overthrow the government – said the Secretary General during his speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

According to Stoltenberg, there are many examples of Russia trying to interfere in the political processes in various NATO countries and partner countries.


Zaev: I have no evidence of Russian influence in Macedonia


Skopje, 17 September, 2018 - 11:40 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev replied to a question at the conference dedicated to media freedom in the region and said that he has no evidence of Russian influence in Macedonia.

_I have no evidence of any Russian influence in Macedonia. The Russian Federation is a friend of the Republic of Macedonia and there is nothing that stands in the way of Macedonia’s accession in the EU, but it is openly opposed against NATO. If there is any evidence of interference by using fake news I will publicly share them – said Zaev.

He reminded that there is no alternative for Macedonia but EU and NATO and that Macedonia wants to have “Friendly relations with all countries.”

Zaev stressed that he is aware of the information for networks of profiles that are spreading fake news on social media including traditional media, and stated that he hopes that we “can get to know the details,” but that there are no indication of countries spreading fake news.

The Prime Minister warned that “the misuse in the form of spreading disinformation can easily reflect on the stability and it doesn’t represent freedom of speech.”

The question was posted because of the statement that was given by Pentagon’s spokesperson, Eric Peon tot he New York Times before today’s visit of the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Macedonia, which said: “Macedonia’s membership in NATO is one of Russia’s worst nightmares.”

Zaev said that the US Secretary of Defense, Mattis will come to encourage the citizens to use their democratic right to vote and expects to exchange experiences with him as two partner countries.”


In the EU we will be among the poorest, most unemployed and with the shortest life expectancy


Skopje, 14 September, 2018 - 14:01 (META) 

All previous public opinion polls show that the majority of Macedonian citizens support Macedonia’s membership in the European Union, and among the fundamental expectations of EU integration is the reduction of unemployment and poverty and improvement of the quality of life.

Such expectations are logical, if we take into account the data on the employment rate, life expectancy and gross domestic product per capita according to the purchasing power parity in Macedonia and EU countries. The data reveals that our country is at the bottom of the list of countries ranked in accordance with this criteria. Given that the people on the referendum scheduled for September 30 should decide whether they will accept the name change and membership of the country in the EU and NATO, they should an idea of what Macedonia would look like in the company of European countries.

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With an employment rate of 70.3 percent among people aged between 20 – 64, Macedonia would be in second to last position in the EU under this criteria just behind Italy, where the employment rate is 70.1 percent. With the average life expectancy for women at 77.5 years and for men 73.4 years, Macedonian citizens would be among EU citizens with the shortest life expectancy. With GDP per capita according to the purchasing power parity (PPP), which in Macedonia is only 37 percent of the European average, Macedonian citizens would definitely be the poorest EU citizens.


Kammenos: Regardless of the referendum, the Greek people will have the last word


Thessaloniki, 12 September, 2018 - 14:22 (META) 

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, the final word on the Prespa Accord will be given to the Greek people, either in a referendum or in elections, said the coalition partner in the Greek government Panos Kammenos, repeating his positions again, but revealing his next steps after Macedonia would complete the proposed obligations.

“My first proposal to the Prime Minister will be to address the Greek people, to ask for a referendum, from the Greek people to take a position on this change of decision of the leaders of the political parties. The second option we will have is any decision or debate in parliament to be postponed after the end of the four-year term. And the third and last will be the announcement of elections,” Kammenos said at a press conference at the 83rd International Fair in Thessaloniki and added that they have no mandate from the people to give away the term Macedonia any way.

The leader of the Independent Greeks explained that it was in the neighbors’ interest to “accept Greek positions” because Greece wants to help economically, “but history can not be forged and the name Macedonia used.”

“There is no Macedonian nationality, nor does a Macedonian language exist, you speak Slavic,” said Kammenos.