The dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter’s name is a “burden” on Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday as she called for a solution even if it would leave both sides disappointed.
“We can find a way to solve this problem,” Merkel said at the annual meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni Process between leaders of Southeastern European countries. “I have spent time on this issue and the names and possible combinations but sometimes I think there is nothing else to be proposed.”
This is her second major involvement in the name dispute. Last November she held talks with the United Nation’s mediator for the issue, Matthew Nimetz, in Berlin.
“In Germany we say that a compromise has been achieved when each side is equally unhappy,” said Merkel from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, adding that a solution of the name issue would allow FYROM to progress with its efforts to join the European Union and NATO.
Greek diplomats were concerned recently that FYROM’s attempt to join NATO would be raised again at the organization’s next summit, in the Welsh city of Cardiff, in September but Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the enlargement of the alliance will not be on the agenda.