Greece will not accept the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM) entry into NATO or the European Union so long as there is no mutually acceptable name for that country, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis reiterated on Thursday, and this time in Parliament.
Kassimis also added that EU funding to the neighbouring land-locked country was flowing at a slower pace than to the rest of the Balkan countries.
However, he clarified, Greece does not want to stifle FYROM financially, “because it does not believe that economic degradation will create a better neighbour.”
Kassimis made the statement in reply to a tabled question by Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party rapporteur Constantine Aivaliotis, who cited the recent placement of a statue of Alexander the Great, no less, at Skopje airport, which was also recently renamed as ‘Alexander the Great Airport’ by FYROM authorities.
Aivaliotis charged that the Skopje government was following a policy of provocation at all international fora, while also pointing to a”recital of nationalistic extremities in its school books … its airport has been renamed as ‘Alexander the Great Airport’, and it has established a military medal called ‘Alexander III, the Macedon’,” the Greek deputy charged.
“Don’t we see that, with our stance, we are making them tougher and more provocative?” he questioned.
Replying to the question, Kassimis said Greece’s approval was not required for EU funding to FYROM, but was made on the basis of economic criteria.
Regarding developments on the “name issue”, Kassimis reminded that Greece has at all levels denounced Skopje’s provocative stance, particularly after the provocation of the placement of the statue of Alexander, adding that EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana recently stated that Greece will have the EU’s full solidarity on the name issue.
“Greece will in no instance accept FYROM’s entry, either to NATO or the European Union, so long as there is no mutually acceptable name for that country resulting from consent by two sides (Greece and FYROM),” Kassimis said.
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