By blocking Macedonia’s Euro Atlantic integration Greece has broken its own promise, made at the Thessaloniki summit in 2003, to help neighbors on their EU path, Macedonia’s PM Nikola Gruevski said Sunday.
Speaking at the 45th Munich Security Conference, Gruevski said that Athens’ good will to settle the dispute was so far only words.
“We are not feeling this good will from your side”, Gruevski said to the Greek representatives present.
At the beginning of the month Greek FM Dora Bakoyiannis blamed Gruevski’s government for raising nationalistic sentiments and provoking Greece with the recent renaming of a main highway to “Alexander of Macedon” after the ancient conqueror, claimed by both nations. She said that such moves hamper the climate needed for settling the row despite Greece’s good will.
“Some names belong to the whole world, not to one or two countries” Gruevski said, adding that he can not understand why Greece sees this as a provocation when the whole world uses the name of this historical figure.
Gruevski’s remarks come just days before the new round of UN sponsored name talks in New York set for Wednesday. The long running talks dating from early nineties intensified in April, after Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession under the name Macedonia.
Athens says Skopje’s use of this name implies territorial claims over Greece’s own northern province that is also called Macedonia, and has threatened to block Skopje’s EU accession as well, pending a solution to the row.
“How can we explain to Macedonians that their accession to the European home, a home of various identities, will cost them their freedom of expressing who they are? That it will cost them their identity”, Macedonia’s PM Nikola Gruevski said during his speech at the conference.
With rhetoric from both sides becoming ever more shrill, and the ongoing Macedonian lawsuit against Greece in the Hague International Court of Justice, few see the forthcoming UN talks as a real chance for a resolution to the dispute.