Good will, no progress on FYROM

Athens and Skopje are discussing a mutually acceptable name for Greece’s tiny neighbor, provisionally known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), but seem no closer to a solution on the thorny question, the two countries’ foreign ministers implied yesterday. Speaking to journalists after a meeting in Athens, George Papandreou and Slobodan Casule stressed that bilateral relations have vastly improved over the past few years – during which Greece has been the largest foreign investor in FYROM. «Our two countries have perhaps the most common views in our region on what the course of the Balkans should be,» Papandreou said. After thanking Greece for its support during last year’s crisis that brought FYROM to the brink of civil war, Casule said the fact alone that the two countries are «discussing, not negotiating» the name issue is «a great step forward.» The ceiling will also be reduced on campaign spending, while environmentally-unfriendly advertisingwill be banned. And MPs who greatly exceed their spending limits will lose their seats.

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