What stance is Greece expected to take in the Skopje-Sofia dispute

What stance is Greece expected to take in the Skopje-Sofia dispute 1

As North Macedonia and Bulgaria cross swords over bilateral disputes, the question that arises has to do with Greece’s impending reaction.

The fight between Bulgaria and North Macedonia continues unabated.

“Macedonian language” and “national heroes” are the root of the scandal as the Bulgarians urge Skopje to admit that their language and heroes are Bulgarian in origin.

Otherwise, Bulgaria is expected to veto its neighbor’s accession process into the EU.

How will the other countries deal with this and what is Greece expected to do?

“At this stage, I do not think that other European countries will support the accession process of North Macedonia. The pandemic is in the foreground. Next, I estimate that states will pressure Bulgaria to change its position,” Costas Yfantis, a professor of international relations at Panteion University, told Sputnik Hellas.

Regarding the possible stance of Greece, his assessment is that Athens will give a discreet lead to Skopje.

Greece

“The Greek line will favor the enlargement of the Union. However, all this will be done discreetly as there would be a political cost for the government if it strongly supports the European course for North Macedonia,” he said.

The role of the Prespa Agreement

For his part, Antonis Klapsis, Assistant Professor of Diplomacy and International Organization at the University of the Peloponnese, emphasizes the respect that Greece will show for the Prespa Agreement.

“Greece will remain faithful to the Prespa Agreement. As long as our neighbors abide by the agreement, our country cannot do anything different. This is because the language issue raised by Bulgaria has already been recognized by Greece with the Prespa Agreement,” he said.

Speaking to Sputnik Hellas, he notes that “our country – in my personal opinion – has wrongly recognized the Macedonian language as provided for in the Prespa Agreement.”

Many international scholars and analysts have argued that the Prespa Agreement, which recognized the Macedonian language among other things, was signed solely for their accession to NATO, creating a domino effect on other issues.

It is recalled that a few months ago Bulgaria submitted to other EU member states a lengthy memorandum regarding its objections to bilateral relations with North Macedonia, which according to analysts is their first act in the long diplomatic dispute.