October 13, 2008
by: Nicolas Mottas
n June 2003 the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Halkidiki, northern Greece, set a significant aim: the perspicuous committment of Brussels to offer any possible and reasonable assistance to the states of South Eastern Europe, fortifying their European perspective (Article 2, Thessaloniki Declaration). The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was among these states which obtained EU’s solemn undertaking that Skopje will be accepted in the European family when specific conditions will be fully met. Greece has expressed its articulate will to welcome FYROM in the EU, but with the straighforward prerequisite that there will be a commonly-accepted solution in the naming-dispute. No solution means no invitation and that was absolutely clear from the very start, something which was confirmed during the NATO Enlargement in April 2008.
Contrary to FYROM, Greece and the European Union kept their promise so far. In March 2004, the EU allocated, from the budget managed by the European Agency for Reconstruction, a budget of 173 million euro to the FYROM for the period 2001-2004. In April 2005, the Commission approved a 34.5 million euro CARDS aid package, while on December 17, 2005, the European Council decided to grant candidate status to Skopje. From its side, Greece has provided quite important economic aid to FYROM since 2003, through the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans (2002-2006), a program elaborated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has been sustained until 2011. During the period 2002-2006, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia received from Athens a total of 60 million euro for public construction works.
So, did Skopje actually aknowledge the above moves of good will by the Greek side? The answer is, unfotunately, negative. The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has failed so far to recognize and reciprocate Greece’s aid. And, moreover, violated the provisions of the 1995 UN-observed Interim Accord. For example, in Article 7, paragraph 1, of that agreement between Greece and FYROM there is an unambiguous reference to each party’s responsibility to “take effective measures to prohibit hostile activities or propaganda…”. Nonetheless, the hard-core nationalistic voices in Skopje have been proved immovable, still remaining in their settled position of provoking Greece through nonsensical chauvinist idle wishes (the article of the Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC), published here in the American Chronicle, gives a good description of the Slav-Macedonian nationalism). The smouldering chauvinism of Skopje is covered behild the use of the name “Macedonia” and of ancient Greek symbols. But, actually, they look like an elephant who tries to cover himself behind a small bush. Its about time for them to understand it, as soon as possible.
Greece is committed to the European perspective of FYROM – and will continue to be an unwavering supporter of that aim. Because the purpose is the stabilization of FYROM’s state entity and its progress, within a consistent environment of peace and security in South Eastern Europe. But that definitely preoccupates Skopje’s understanding and actions of good will, towards a commonly-accepted solution in the naming-dispute. However, until now, what we have seen is only FYROM’s very negative stance which therefore moves Skopje out of its European route, throwing to the litter bin a great opportunity. The opportunity to secure its future within the EU family.
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