Under fire, SYRIZA deputy stands by ‘Macedonia’ radio comment

Under fire, SYRIZA deputy stands by ‘Macedonia’ radio comment

SYRIZA MP Makis Balaouras attempted on Monday night to defend his comment regarding the naming of Greece’s neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Speaking on Parapolitika FM Monday morning, Balaouras lamented the fact that Athens and Skopje had not been able to settle the dispute over FYROM’s name since the 1990s.

“I would have no objection to it being North Macedonia or Slavo-Macedonia,” he said.

When questioned whether he would reject the idea of Greece’s neighbor being called just Macedonia, he said: “No, personally I would not. Of course, this would require the other side to put in order some things that they not only refuse to but even exacerbate.”

New Democracy criticized Balaouras for his comment and called on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to distance himself from it.

Balaouras responded by insisting that SYRIZA’s position on the name dispute has long been that FYROM should adopt a composite name with a geographical qualifier.

The dispute comes in the wake of New Democracy, and coalition partner Independent Greeks, demanding the resignation of Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas after he mistakenly referred to FYROM as “Macedonia” in a recent TV interview.

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