Kacin: Macedonia – Greece compromise should be carefully studied in the region

Skopje, 14 February, 2019 - 15:13 (META) 

Without solving of all bilateral disputes, there will be no further enlargement in the region of Western Balkans, said Jelko Kacin in a statement for “European Western Balkans”, who is the Permanent Representative of Slovenia to NATO and former Rapporteur for Serbia and Montenegro in the European Parliament.

The decision of the Republic of North Macedonia to change its name is a result of historical political agreement, he emphasized.

“It is a political compromise that should be carefully studied by other states in the region who didn’t yet solve their bilateral problems with neighbors that occurred after dissolution of the former Yugoslavia”, he said.

Greek Parliament ratifies Prespa Agreement

Athens, 25 January, 2019 - 16:20 (META) 

The Greek Parliament this afternoon ratified the Prespa Agreement which was signed by Macedonia and Greece, with 153 MPs’ voting to end the name dispute which has lasted nearly three decades.

All 300 MPs were asked the question of whether they are “for”, or “against”, or would “abstain” concerning the ratification of the Prespa Agreement.

Of all the MPs, 153 were in favour, 146 were opposed and one MP abstained.

Macedonia, on January 11th, voted in favour for the approval of the changes in the Constitution, and completed the procedure regarding the implementation of the Prespa Agreement.

Tsipras: After 3 decades, the name dispute has come to an end

New York, 26 September, 2018 - 13:59 (META) 

Speaking at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras discussed, among other things, initiatives for the Balkans, mentioning the name issue. The Greek prime minister said that after three decades the name dispute has come to an end, and his vision is that, as a leading force, Greece will lead the whole region to stability, co-operation and prosperity.

“We have taken important initiatives to make the Balkans a stable, safe and prosperous part of Europe. We have seen that there is a window of opportunity to overcome an issue that has been a thorn for Greece and Europe for almost three decades. The issue with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has come to an end. By respecting our history, with respect to our nations,” said Tsipras.

The Greek prime minister also touched on the economic crisis that Greece faces, saying that the country has already turned a new leaf and stands on its feet.

Regarding problems with refugees, Tsipras said it was a European problem that requires a common European coping strategy.

25 lost years for the same result

Skopje, 25 September, 2018 - 12:56 (META) 

Recent months have witnessed much debate over the term North Macedonia as a compromise solution for the name dispute after the signing of the agreement with Greece. The proposal, however, is not new. It is not even the first proposed.

Featured on the front page of the “Nova Makedonija” newspaper, was a facsimile dated March 7, 1993, with the headline “North Macedonia” acceptable to Greece? “.

Since then, 25 years have passed and according to some, 25 irretrievably lost years, and the result of the negotiations has remained the same.

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.

Kotzias: Gruevski pretended that he didn’t want a solution to the name

Athens, 4 September, 2018 - 15:57 (META) 

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that “the former Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, did not want to resolve the name dispute.”

The reaction from Kotzias follows information published by Wikileaks, that Macedonian authorities had accepted a name change back in 2008.

“It is well known that Gruevski did not want any solution to the name dispute. He ridiculed international players, saying he was being forced to compromise. Nobody trusted him except, if we recall, Mr. Mitsotakis,” said Kotzias.

“Kathimerini” published a confidential document from the US Embassy in Skopje titled “What Macedonians Need to Do to Address the Name Dispute,” written by the then US ambassador to Macedonia, Gillian Milovanovic.

It states that as early as 2008, Skopje officially agreed to change the constitutional name in “the Republic of North Macedonia”, provided that it included recognition of the Macedonian language and nationality.

The first part of the document mentions that Milovanovic presented her conclusions after talks with the then President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski and Nikola Gruevski, and states that the conditions were acceptable to the country.

“The US Embassy in Skopje estimates that the Macedonian Government is ready for the path to NATO and EU membership by agreeing on the name the Republic of North Macedonia by all international organizations,” reads the document from the US Embassy in Macedonia, which Wikileaks published.

Kammenos: Zaev and Dimitrov infuriate the Greek people with their statements

Vienna, 30 August, 2018 - 18:03 (META) 

At an informal summit of EU defense ministers in Vienna, Greek Defense Minister and leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos, said that the mention of a Macedonian nation goes against any agreement and infuriates the Greek people, who will also have the last word, regardless of the referendum and the constitutional changes in Macedonia, the Greek Ministry of Defense announced.

“In his address he highlighted the fact that Skopjan officials, the Prime Minister himself and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by making provocative statements against Greece, jeopardize the efforts to reach a solution. Their reference to a “Macedonian nation” is against all agreements. In this way, they only achieve to enrage the Greek people, who will be the ones to have the final word, regardless of the referendum and the constitutional changes in Skopje,” reads the statement.

Hahn: Do not jeopardize the future of Macedonia over party-political considerations

Brussels, 30 July, 2018 - 18:47 (META) 

I call on all political actors to work constructively to achieve this goal and not to jeopardize the progress made due to party-political considerations, said EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn told Macedonian politicians in an interview with EurActiv.

He says that Macedonia has made the most progress in the past year by overcoming the deep political crisis by democratic means.

“The country has made considerable progress in implementing the Przino Agreement and reform priorities under the new, reform-oriented and pro-European government. Particularly noteworthy are the efforts of the government under Prime Minister Zaev for good neighborly relations. After the friendship treaty with Bulgaria, finally after 27 years of futile efforts under UN mediation, the name dispute between Skopje and Athens has been settled. This historical agreement marks a significant step towards the realization of the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspective”, says Han, referring to the country as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

He recalls that the success of the agreement till requires a referendum.

“I therefore call on all political actors to work constructively to achieve this goal and not to jeopardize the progress made due to party-political considerations. It is about the future of this country, therefore the referendum on the agreement with Greece and the new name should be carried out as soon as possible. The ratification and a successful referendum are essential steps on the way towards NATO- and EU-membership”, emphasizes EU Commissioner Hahn.

Asked if 2025, which is listed as the year for the EU’s possible enlargement strategy, is too far for countries that want to be part of the Union, Hahn points out that this indicative date is not too far away because the reforms to adapt to EU standards take a long time. He says that it is not just about legislative changes , but also about their actual application.

Government: Macedonia received a date for negotiations, positive changes were recognized

Skopje, 27 June, 2018 - 11:42 (META) 

Another great day for the Republic of Macedonia, and more recognition for our country. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states of the European Union yesterday decided to start negotiations for membership for the Republic of Macedonia in June 2019, the Government stated.

“The European Union and the leaders of all member states recognized the Republic of Macedonia as a country of positive change, a dynamic process of reform, inclusiveness and social dialogue. A country with a strong, well-intentioned political will, resolves disputes with its neighbors and a country of citizens who have demonstrated that they have a clearly expressed vision of a European future. The path of reform and building our country as a state under European rules is an irreversible process”, the government announced.

Merkel to Zaev: Germany will strongly support the Agreement

Skopje, 22 June, 2018 - 16:47 (META) 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a congratulatory message to Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev for reaching an agreement with Greece to resolve the name dispute, and said Germany would strongly support it, informed the Macedonian Government.

“This deal paves the way for a historic agreement, and I congratulate you and your government on this success. The Federal Republic of Germany with great interest will follow the implementation of this Agreement and will strongly support it”, wrote Merkel to her Macedonian counterpart, said the Government.