Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Tuesday dismissed claims by a former lawmaker of the junior government coalition partner that the government rushed to sign a deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on its name on Sunday in the hope of securing a favorable agreement on debt relief at the next Eurogroup meeting.
“We did not give [anything] to get something in return, we made the best deal for the country,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with TV channel ANT1.
On Monday, Dimitris Kammenos, who was expelled from the Independent Greeks (ANEL) after voting in favor of a no-confidence motion against the government, claimed the name deal was a quid pro quo.
Asked about the fact that FYROM nationals will be called Macedonians after the deal is completed, the foreign minister said the name specifies the nationality.
“I made an international deal where I secured the erga omnes [universal use of the name], without irredentism. They also had to get something,” he explained.
“Self-identification was their main request in the negotiations.”
Kotzias also dismissed reports claiming Thessaloniki’s Airport “Macedonia” will be renamed, adding that FYROM will remove some of the statues installed in Skopje.
He acknowledged public reactions to the name deal, saying “every change brings insecurity and questions,” and said FYROM recognizes that there are no links to ancient Macedonia.