European Western Balkans

Kotzias: EU must not block the prospects of Macedonia and Albania

Dimitrov and Kotzias; Photo: Bulgarian Presidency

BRUSSELS – Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias marked the solving of Macedonia – Greece name dispute as Europe’s best news for the last five years, in an interview for Euractiv, stressing that this will contribute to stability in the Balkans.

The Greek Minister believes that the opening of negotiations with Macedonia and Albania would help these countries solve problems more efficiently.

“We must not block that prospect. I am afraid that if a date for accession is not given to North Macedonia, all this effort we made with great sacrifices and compromises from both sides, could be jeopardised” said Greek Foreign Minister for Euractiv, stressing that “if one of the two countries starts the negotiations, and let’s say, Albania is left out, this will create a state of instability in the region”.

The Balkan countries are finally solving their problems, and it is important to some European countries to see it, asking how long will Albania stand to see Serbia speeding up the negotiations and completing them, while Tirana has not begun them at all.

Greek Minister concluded that these could be destabilising factors because governments will not manage to survive them. And changes in the Balkan region, except Greece, have never been easy or pleasant.

“Macedonia-Greece deal has been Europe’s best news for the last five years. It’s a solution to a problem that came at a time when we had a crisis in the eurozone, a crisis of identity, deepening or enlargement, the Brexit, the migration issue”, said Kotzias.

Talking about countries which have objected to starting negotiation with Macedonia and Albania, Kotzias said that beside the Netherlands, which has expressed disagreements, there are some problem with contradictions in the German ruling coalition and how the migration issue will be tackled by Angela Merkel. Also, the French are not happy with the way the debate about the future of Europe is going.

The point is, by Kotzias’s words, to bring France together with Germany in order to avoid destabilising the Balkans, adding that “in NATO, the balance between those who support the membership and those who have doubts is different”.

Kotzias said that he believes that Zaev will not bow to the pressure of the opposition (VMRO-DPMNE) and to accusations of giving everything to Greece.

“The governments of Northern Macedonia and Greece support solutions, the cooperation of the states and the European orientation for the benefit of their people. On the other hand, there are forces that played political games and benefited from a non-solution, undermining the future of democracy and their peoples”.

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