New Democracy will maintain the same policy line over ongoing talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) the conservative party drew when in government at a 2008 NATO Summit, where Athens vetoed its neighbor’s bid for accession into the alliance pending a resolution on the longstanding name dispute, the conservative leader said on Tuesday.
Speaking to party officials in Athens, Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed a series of key policy issues, including a fresh effort launched by the United Nations last month to resolve a decades-long row between Greece and FYROM over the latter’s name. He accused the leftist-led government of “choosing to conduct talks in secret,” and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who leads the junior party in the coalition government, of efforts to hold onto his post.
The conservative leader was referring to an apparent rift in the coalition between left-wing SYRIZA and its junior partner, right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks, regarding the government’s position on the name talks, saying that the “least it can do” is defend the advantage gained by Greece at the 2008 summit under the ND government of Costas Karamanlis.
Mitsotakis also called on the government to provide regular updates regarding its position on the name talks to the parties of the opposition but also to the people of Greece.
Earlier on Tuesday, prominent ND lawmaker Dora Bakoyannis accused the government of “arrogance” in its stance towards the name talks.
“I consider it an incredible weakness of the government that it is not keeping the opposition informed. This is a sign of arrogance. National issues are not party issues,” the conservative MP and former foreign minister said.
“When you have a government where one minister cannot convince another on the correctness of his negotiating line, this significantly weakens the Greek position,” Bakoyannis added.