Secretary General for European Affairs Mr. Dimitrios K. Katsoudas: ” Greece also extends direct financial aid, in excess of 75 million Euros, to FYROM”

Speech by the Secretary General for European Affairs, Mr. Dimitrios K. Katsoudas to the EURISC Foundation (9/9/2009)

Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Ladies and gentlemen,
I will now refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Let me be clear on this issue: my country not only supports FYROM in its Euro-Atlantic perspective; like all its allies and partners, we are deeply convinced that, in order to completely stabilise the Southeast of Europe, we need to bring all countries of the region into NATO and the EU. But membership of NATO and the EU is not, and has never been, unconditional.
Any perspective member-state must adhere to the fundamental principle of good neighbourly relations with all other allies and members, particularly its immediate neighbours. And FYROM is actually doing the opposite. In the meantime, Greek entrepreneurs have invested nearly one billion Euros in the Republic’s economy, creating more that 20,000 new jobs there, and thus contributing to the economic progress and social stability of the country.
Greece also extends direct financial aid, in excess of 75 million Euros, to FYROM. We are doing all we can to help promote the economy and prosperity of our neighbours. But FYROM, which partakes of only 35% of the territory of the broader geographical region of Macedonia, has spared no effort in trying to monopolise the name, history and identity of the entire region. This is unacceptable.
The issue is thorny and complicated: ignorant bystanders, as well as those not much concerned, point the finger at Greece for wishing to change another country’s name! Those who are either better informed or more concerned for past and present history and politics, point the finger at Skopje for grossly mismanaging both history and present-day politics.

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