The government is following with discomfort the developments in North Macedonia, while it also remained an observer during the processes that led to the EU’s refusal to commence the accession negotiations and to the declaration of early elections.
The Government’s response to the post by SYRIZA’s president, who accuses Kyriakos Mitsotakis of turning Greece into a sidekick and of remaining absent from developments in the neighborhood, is indicative of the climate. The government responded with shots fired to SYRIZA regarding the past, about lacking a substantial argument on how it handled matters in the Balkans. The government statement reads: “Greece is picking up the pieces of the shattered foreign policy of Mr. Tsipras and the Kotzias – Kammenos ensemble. Citizens know that the previous government turned Greece into a sidekick in Europe in the last 4.5 years. Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government moved very quickly to safeguard national interests and restore Greece’s position in our region and our credibility in Europe. As evidenced by the achievements of the first hundred days in foreign affairs, in the behavior of our partners and in publications in foreign media, Greece has again become the protagonist. Everything else is lies, fantasies, and all smoke and mirrors”. The government refers to “the achievements of the first 100 days in foreign affairs”, without, of course, pointing them out.
However, in practice the government’s stance is at least contradictory. Up until a few days ago, Kyriakos Mitsotakis would not even name North Macedonia. In Zoran Zaev’s request for separation of his country from Albania, a rather favorable development, he responded negatively, while pointing out in his public statements the “accession perspective of the Western Balkans wholly”. He did not intervene during the Summit in fear of being accused by the “Macedonian warriors of his party”. Yet he later said that postponing or suspending the accession negotiations is not a good development for Greece, as it will be left with no means of pressure to ensure the Prespa Agreement is being respected. And of course, the last thing Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants is for the VMRO-DPMNE nationalists to come to power in the forthcoming elections in North Macedonia. Getting into a confrontation with North Macedonia’s nationalists while facing pressure from his own party for tough politics is a nightmare. On the other hand, however, for the sake of intra-party balance, he will continue to be nothing but a spectator in the face of developments. /ibna