Skopje retracts PM Zaev’s statement about teaching “Macedonian language” in Greece


zoran zaev Reuters Francois Lenoir

Following Greece's outcry, the FYROM government has retracted the provocative statement made by PM Zoran Zaev, regarding the possibility of the "Macedonian language" being taught in schools across Greece, under the Prespes Agreement.

In a statement, they went on to say there was misinterpretation about Zaev’s comments towards “Aegean Macedonians” and reiterated their intention to fully implement the Agreement with Greece.

"All our actions and statements are made in good faith to support the Agreement," FYROM Government Spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski said, and as a country hoping to become a member of the EU, it understands that each country looks after its citizens and that Balkan countries do not intervene in domestic issues of their neighboring countries.

To show that they are keen to move forward with the Prespes Agreement, the FYROM government also pointed out that the country commits to avoiding any intervention in Greek affairs in accord with article 4, paragraph 3 of the Prespes Agreement. "It is understandable that the policies on the use of languages in both countries are not defined by the Prespes Agreement," he said, and "we understand and respect that the issue related to the languages taught in Greece is one of domestic affairs and of domestic policy."

"Prime Minister Zaev is absolutely committed to a policy that introduces European values in the Balkan area and is committed to improving good neighborly relations", the spokesman said. The government expresses regret "if the Prime Minister's statements were misinterpreted," Bosnjakovski said.

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has remained silent on the issue, however, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said Greece will not accept “arbitrary” interpretations of the agreement to rename FYROM as North Macedonia.

The leader of the Greek opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said that Zaev’s comments are “unacceptable.” He added that the Prespa agreement, in “recognizing the so-called Macedonian language and ethnicity, opens Pandora’s box and revives all the scandalous claims of Skopje.”

“Our Macedonian language will be taught at schools across Greece,” says FYROM PM Zaev