The President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the ocassion of the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Skra on Sunday took the oppoprtunity to signal to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that the country’s path toward the European Union and NATO must pass via a revision of its Constitution and the removal of any irredentist claims.
During his speech at the event, the Greek President also noted that Greece’s greatest achievements in history came at times when the country was fully united, while envy and division have cost it dear.
“The great victory at Skra and all the struggles of the Greeks during the Balkan Wars finally and uncontestably established the Greekness of Macedonia, on the one hand, while making a mockery of all gross propaganda to the contrary, on the other hand,” he said.
As a peace-loving country and in a sincere spirit of friendship and good neighbourliness, Greece sends the following messages to FYROM, Pavlopoulos said:
First, that Greece supports its path toward NATO and EU accession but, for reasons of respect for history, international law and the European acquis, that support is conditional on previously finding a solution to the name issue that also provides the necessary guarantees against irredentism.
Secondly, and as a consequence of the above, that there is only one way for FYROM’s accession to the EU and NATO to proceed: through a previous revision of its constitution in this direction and an agreement that contains all the guarantees for eradicating irredentism.
Referring to the victory at Skra, Pavlopoulos said that Greece’s win had surprised the entire world, which had considered the fortified position of the Bulgarians unassailable, and that it had come about as a result of the unity of all Greeks, from the most humble to the most exalted.
“Among those that fell fighting on the front line was Major Vassilios Papagiannis, the nephew of Daglis [a Greek politician and senior military officer]. Fighting at the head of a field artillery platoon was the prime minister’s son, Sophocles Venizelos. Among those on the front line was a later celebrity of the Greek letters, Giorgos Katsimbalis, who abandoned his studies in France and returned to Greece to fight on the front. He was the nephew of Andreas Michalakopoulos. None of them sought to benefit from their close ties to the political and military leadership of the country,” Pavlopoulos pointed out.
“As we did 100 years ago, so are we now prepared at any time to defend our country at all costs, if needed,” the president added.