Greek FM Kotzias says FYROM name deal an “example” amid continuing reactions



by Aggelos Skordas

The agreement between Athens and Skopje over the FYROM's name has sparked fury in both countries, although Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias appeared once again thoroughly satisfied with the outcome of some 25 years of negotiations. Addressing the 3rd Ministerial Rhodes Conference for Security and Stability, Kotzias characterised the name deal as an example of solving differences between states.

Referring to the signing ceremony of the agreement in Prespes, overseen by the two countries’ Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, the Greek Foreign Minister said that “we reached a compromise and showed that no one can corner the other party”. Kotzias added that he hopes the deal will be ratified, adding that the “disagreement that exists is between those who want a solution and those that do not take action and settle with non-solutions”.

At the same time, in mainland Greece, ruling SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL) PMs saw another day of angry protests against them. During the annual ceremony commemorating the liberation of Kilkis, a regional unit of northern Greece bordering with FYROM, in 21 June 1913, local SYRIZA and ANEL lawmakers were booed by the crowd. A similar incident took place in nearby Kastoria on Wednesday when demonstrators outside the local government MP’s office, chanted slogans against the name deal with the ex-Yugoslav republic.

Amid daily firm reactions the coalition government is attempting to downplay the debates sparked by the agreement with spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos stating that it would hold a vote of confidence in case the junior partner rejects the accord in the Greek Parliament. Moreover, numerous government representatives have suggested that the reactions are orchestrated by the main opposition of New Democracy and far-right elements.

Right wing junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) have opposed the agreement, while the party’s leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos insists that his parliamentary group will vote against the name agreement and request Tsipras to seek a supermajority of 180 MPs when the accord comes to the Greek Parliament due to issue’s importance.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.