“Today marks a historical day. Greece safeguards an important part of its history, the heritage of Ancient Greek Macedonia” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated after the Greek Parliament on Friday ratified the Prespes Agreement, with a majority of 153 votes, 146 voting against and one deputy abstaining with a vote of ‘present’.
Alexis Tsipras also posted a statement on his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, stating: “Today we write a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalisms, conflicts and arguments give their place to friendship, peace and cooperation…The next generations in both countries will owe a debt of gratitude to the deputies who, with courage and daring, laid the foundations for a future of peace, solidarity and harmonious co-existence between the two peoples…North Macedonia, which was born today, will be a friendly country. An ally and supporter of Greece in its efforts for safety, stability and joint development in the region.”
Votes for the agreement were cast by ruling SYRIZA’s parliamentary group of 145 MPs, as well as the MPs Elena Kountoura, Katerina Papakosta, Thanassis Papachristopoulos, Stavros Theodorakis, Spyros Lykoudis, Giorgos Mavrotas, Thanassis Theocharopoulos and Spyros Danellis.
Votes against were cast by main opposition New Democracy, Democratic Alliance, Communist Party of Greece, Independent Greeks, Centrists’ Union and independents. The MP Grigoris Psarianos abstained, casting a vote of ‘present’.
Vassilis Kokkalis, who is a member of the government, voted against the agreement.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, also tweeted after the ratification of the Prespes Agreement by the Greek parliament, hailing it as a “historic victory” which will change the name of his country to North Macedonia and bring a long-standing diplomatic dispute between the two countries to a close.
“Congratulations my friend
@tsipras_eu, together with our peoples we reached a historical victory. Long live the Prespa Agreement! For eternal peace and progress of the Balkans and in Europe!” he wrote.