Prespa Agreement with Skopje freezes, Athens annoyed with Zaev

Prespa Agreement North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev

The Greek government is postponing the ratification of the memoranda of cooperation with North Macedonia for its continued violations of the 2018 Prespa Agreement.

Greece is angered that the national football team of North Macedonia at EURO 2020 is sporting a jersey bearing the abbreviations of "Football Federation of Macedonia", omitting "North" from the name.

However, the latest move by the country's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev caused fury in Athens.

In particular, government sources said after the latest developments, the ratification of the memoranda of cooperation with North Macedonia is "frozen".

It is recalled that in the aftermath of the uproar that broke out because of the jerseys was heightened when Zaev wrote on his Twitter account: "Today from his stadium Amsterdam, I strongly support the National Football Team of Macedonia."

This move by Zaev (omitting "North" from the name of the country) sparked dissatisfaction in Athens, with the ruling party now heading towards postponing the parliamentary process for ratifying three memoranda of cooperation with the country.

The three memoranda are meant to be in the framework of the Prespa Agreement that was signed in June 2018.

Commenting on the recent events, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni stressed that North Macedonia should "refrain from divisive rhetoric."

She noted that the ruling party's main reservation at the time the Prespa Agreement (when New Democracy was in opposition) was signed were opposed to Macedonian term "for language and identity."

Asked yesterday whether this issue could be an obstacle to the country's European Union's accession talks, she noted that "everything is being evaluated and the time that will come in Parliament to ratify the cooperation protocols" is being considered.

"Full and good faith implementation of the Agreement is a criterion for the accession process of the neighbor," she added.

Although the Prespa Agreement meant Skopje had to acknowledge that the Ancient Macedonians, their history and legacy are Greek, Athens in return recognised a Macedonian language and identity.

Prespa Agreement: A New Era For The Balkans? – PoliTips
Signing of the Prespa Agreement.

This has been opposed by Bulgaria who highlight that Macedonian is in fact a Bulgarian dialect and the Macedonian people are Bulgarians who had their identity stripped from them by Yugoslav authorities.

For this reason, Bulgaria is blocking North Macedonia's EU accession process, and there is every opportunity that Greece could join Bulgaria in this effort for Skopje's continuous and endless violation of the Prespa Agreement.

READ MORE: Zaev to ERT: Issue of national team’s name Macedonia at EURO 2020 will be resolved.