Droutsas rules out EU entry talks without prior resolution of name row

“There cannot be a start of EU accession negotiations without a prior resolution of the name issue,” Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said.

Droutsas’ remarks appear on the Greek foreign ministry’s website. “It is in the hands of the FYROM government and Mr. Gruevski himself to abandon their intransigent stance and extremist nationalistic rhetoric. Groundless and historically unfounded claims do not benefit our neighboring country’s people, who are in immediate need of the prosperity and growth guaranteed by the European perspective.”

Asked by the journalists if the name “Republic of Northern Macedonia” constitutes an honorable compromise for Athens, Droutsas says Greece has a national red line which is supported by the majority of the country’s political forces. We are only discussing an erga omnes compound name with a geographical qualifier.

Asked to comment the possibility of veto, Droutsas said the veto is one of the tools at Greece’s disposal, just like any other NATO and EU member state.

“FYROM’s leadership has to prove to every EU member state that it has complied with all the criteria and prerequisites; that it respects the rules on good neighborly relations, abandons intransigence and nationalism and comes to the negotiations under the auspices of the UN with a constructive mindset in order to find a definitive solution on the name issue.”

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