Resolving name dispute ‘passport’ for Skopje’s EU, NATO ambitions, Papadimoulis says

Resolving name dispute ‘passport’ for Skopje’s EU, NATO ambitions, Papadimoulis says

SYRIZA MEP and European Parliament Vice President Dimitris Papadimoulis has welcomed the efforts of the new government in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to find a solution to the lingering name dispute with Greece, adding that a mutually accepted settlement would serve as a “passport” for the Balkan state’s EU and NATO ambitions.

“The new government creates a more positive atmosphere for [establishing] a better relationship between the two neighboring countries,” Papadimoulis told FYROM’s Nova TV in an interview, adding that he saw a “window of opportunity.”

“We have common interests in stabilizing the region,” he said.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, in power since spring, has vowed to improve bilateral ties with Greece, which has opposed its neighbor’s name since it declared it and won recognition by the United Nations after Yugoslavia’s breakup in 1991. Athens says the name implies territorial claims on Greece’s northern province of the same name. Greece blocked FYROM from joining NATO in 2008 under its provisional name.

“A compromise solution will be the best passport for the country’s European orientation and NATO membership,” Papadimoulis said.

“Greece could be your best friend in your efforts,” he added.

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