Greece’s populist right-wing party Independent Greeks (ANEL), Alexis Tsipras’s coalition partner, on Wednesday called for a revision of the name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) following remarks by the country’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev, over the weekend who implied there is a “Macedonian” minority in Greece.
ANEL vice president Panagiotis Sgouridis said that Zaev’s remarks triggered Article 19 of the Prespes accord. Article 19, Paragraph 2 of the deal stipulates that “in the event that a party considers that the other party is not acting in accordance with the provisions of [the] agreement, this party shall first notify the other party of its concerns and shall seek a solution by negotiation.”
Speaking to Thema radio, Sgouridis said he was not aware if ANEL chief Panos Kammenos had brought up the issue with the Greek prime minister.
He reiterated that ANEL will withdraw their support for the government if the name deal with FYROM is put to a vote in Greece’s Parliament.
Speaking to MPs in Skopje Saturday, Zaev reportedly said that the deal would allow the teaching of the “Macedonian” language in Greece to “Macedonians.” The remark caused an uproar in Greece, while United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz reportedly intervened with a phone call to Zaev in a bid to defuse tensions.
In a statement Tuesday, Skopje insisted that it remains firmly committed to the name deal it signed with Greece in June.