Athens, June 21, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Spikes for nationalist upsurge in Albania
“The main problem of FYROM is that it lacks democratic culture of dialogue and compromise and this is due to the attitude of some of the ‘friends’ of that country who ‘trained’ it in such a way as not to enable its leadership to make neither internal compromises nor internal democratic practices”, said the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias at his extensive intervention at the Foreign Affairs Council held in Luxembourg, in which one of the items on the agenda was the latest developments in FYROM.
Mr Kotzias explained that Greece should not shoulder all the weights and responded by bringing the example of Turkey, in the argument of some that if Greece had not vetoed due to the name issue, FYROM today would be stable and would not have problems:
“EU developments with Turkey show how deeply flawed this view is”, he said and explained: “The experience we had with Turkey from 1997 to 1999, when we lifted our veto on the Cyprus issue, proved that Turkey still has pending issues on its path to the EU”.
“I had told them last year as well that, unfortunately, with the way you behave towards FYROM, dropping all the weights on Greece, in the end the leaders of our neighbour country will not be able to make internal compromises that are necessary to develop democracy”, Mr Kotzias stressed.
“And, unfortunately, I told them that I was proven right”, added the Foreign Minister, noting that because this leadership in FYROM, “due to the way the Europeans behave, has not learned to make compromises, the main issues that we have to do today are: first help in a culture of compromise and second to help the development of democracy, in particular by contributing to ensure normal electoral rolls and democratic functioning of the Media”.
Mr Kotzias clarified that “there should not – because it was heard – be thoughts of sanctions”, noting that both he and the government “are against the systems of sanctions and in the case of FYROM we will not allow sanctions” and stressed that “the true friends of the stability of this country is Greece and Bulgaria”.
Mr Kotzias also explained that “we should speak less publicly regarding the policy followed within FYROM and help more”, and reiterated to the Council that “the creation of this state is a fact one must see positively, but its name and the irredentism that is hidden underneath it is negative”.
The Foreign Minister spoke to the Council also for the “need to insist on good neighbourliness with all countries”, leaving clear peaks for the nationalist policy that is practiced by certain circles in Albania.
Specifically, he referred to the fact that “both FYROM – with the issues sometimes puts forward – and other countries in the Western Balkans do not follow the rules of good neighbourliness” and particularly stressed that “we have the birth of a new wave of nationalism in the Western Balkans, which should be the subject of great attention on the part of the while EU, because nationalism is the one that can destroy both countries and Europe and the peace and stability in the region”.
“A message not only to FYROM, but a main message to other countries as well, which despite the proposals we have made – and these proposals are known to the vice presidency of the EU – over other our neighbours, we see a nationalist upsurge that does not help in the understanding and European course of these countries, which if they persist in permitting the reproduction and strengthening of nationalism they will have repercussions on their European path”.
The Greek FM had a meeting on the sidelines of the Synod with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, whom he briefed on his meeting two days ago with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the positions he presented for a solution of the security and guarantees issue in the Cyprus matter and he handed him an extensive text on this issue he prepared himself.