ND chief slams gov’t for giving up ‘bargaining chip’ on FYROM talks


Conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday accused the coalition government of giving up Greece’s “strongest bargaining chip” in the name dispute with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by agreeing to lift Athens’s objections to the Balkan state’s NATO membership.

FYROM is formally expected this week to be invited by NATO to join the alliance. However, it will become a member only if it adopts a new name – Republic of North Macedonia – that has already been agreed in principle with Greece but has not yet been endorsed by its people.

“Three weeks ago at Prespes, [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras and [Defense Minister Panos] Kammenos recognized the supposed Macedonian ethnicity and language. This occurred despite the total opposition – I would say outcry – of the people,” Mitsotakis said.

“At that time we waged a battle in Parliament to prevent this development, warning against the negative repercussions it would have – in fact very soon,” he said.

“Today in Brussels, Tsipras and Kammenos are showing the neighboring state of Skopje the door of NATO membership. They are thereby giving up Greece’s strongest bargaining chip which has been the official policy line over 27 years,” said the New Democracy leader.

“Tsipras and Kammenos are primarily responsible for creating a fait accompli. They will soon be judged also on this by the Greek people.”