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EU-Western Balkans: the Macedonia crux, a meeting between Tsipras and Zaev. “We are strengthening our friendly bonds”

 

(Sofia) One of the hottest issues on the agenda at the EU-Western Balkans summit that is taking place in Sofia was the long-awaited one-to-one meeting between Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Skopje (Fyrom), and his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, about the crux that is the name Macedonia, a controversial matter that so far has been hindering the Balkan country’s European process due to Athens claiming to have exclusive rights to the name “Macedonia”. “We are strengthening the friendly bonds between Macedonia and Greece”, the Macedonian Prime Minister stated, then he added: “Prime Minister Tsipras and I hope we can make a decision that may respect the citizens’ dignity in both countries”. The two Prime Ministers discussed the current state of the negotiations under the aegis of the UN about the name Fyrom that, having been at a standstill for years, have started to make quick progress again since the early 2018. However, no compromise was reached in Sofia: at the European Council in late June, the 28 member states will have to decide whether Macedonia can start the negotiations that have been stuck so far due to such debate with Athens about the name.

 

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