Amid tensions over name deal, Tusk lauds Zaev
As tensions simmer over Greece’s recent name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered a probe into claims by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias that he received threats over the agreement.
The judicial intervention followed comments by Kotzias to the 24/7 radio station. “I have received 800 letters threatening my life and my family. I have received boxes of dirt soaked in blood and bullets,” he said, questioning why a prosecutor had not intervened.
In the same interview, Kotzias expressed confidence that Greece’s Parliament would approve the Macedonia name deal despite significant political and public opposition.
But public opposition to the deal remains strong, with a recent poll indicating that six in 10 oppose the agreement. The Panhellenic Federation of Macedonian Cultural Associations and 13 unions of diaspora Macedonians on Thursday lodged an appeal with the Council of State to reverse the accord.
Meanwhile, in a joint press conference in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk lauded FYROM for its progress on structural reforms and the name deal with Greece.
“This is a good week for your country and for the western Balkans,” Tusk said, referring to a decision by EU ministers to pave the way for launching accession talks with FYROM in 2019.
FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country was “on course” for Europe, acknowledging that the process of accession talks can take years. If FYROM maintains its “European momentum,” he said, it will likely join the EU by 2025.