NEWS

The ball is now in Skopje’s court

The other major foreign policy issue that is at a stalemate is the dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (over its use of the name Macedonia). Skopje has made it clear that it will not give an inch on the issue of its name. Despite what Greece is saying, it appears that FYROM’s future in the EU and NATO will not be blocked because of its dispute with Athens. Will FYROM be considered a «candidate» for EU membership and will we be seeing a solution during its negotiations with the EU, as we are with Turkey? You are racing ahead. What counts is what is happening now. At the moment, after its successful handling of this issue, Greece is in the position of the strong, constructive interlocutor, not the apologist, as the international public has seen us in the past and for a number of years. We have taken a clear stand. A mutually acceptable solution must be found to the name issue. This has also been the EU’s position since last September, following efforts by Greece. We have agreed to the latest proposals by (UN mediator Matthew) Nimitz as a basis for negotiation. That was an important decision and nothing more should be expected from Greece. The onus is now on the other side to make the next, substantial goodwill gesture. I would like to emphasize here that, according to the Interim Agreement between Greece and the FYROM (1995, article 11), Greece has the right and the ability not to agree to FYROM’s participation in any international organization if it tries to do so under any name apart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Naturally, the recent statements made by the prime minister in Prague on the issue should also be taken into account.