“Meetings at Prime Ministerial level are expected to take place to find a lasting solution to the name dispute between Greece and FYROM,” said EPP Group Vice-Chairman Andrey Kovatchev after talks in Skopje with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Progress in resolving the name dispute
In recent months, there have been encouraging signs that the long-standing dispute with Greece over the name might be resolved.
Because of this dispute, FYROM has been unable to progress on its path to EU and NATO accession.
The Prime Ministers of both countries had three-hour talks in Davos, Switzerland, at the end of January and then announced that they will take the talks a step further.
As proof of its good will, FYROM changed the disputed names of the international airport in Skopje and of a highway.
Fact-finding: mission to Skopje
EPP Group MEPs Andrey Kovatchev, Alojz Peterle and Tunne Kelam went on a fact-finding mission to Skopje.
They took stock of the situation in the Western Balkans and of the hurdles to the European integration of FYROM. They also discussed the importance of infrastructure projects, especially Corridor 8.
The EPP Group delegation and Prime Minister Zaev discussed FYROM’s priorities for integration in the Euro-Atlantic area and an earlier meeting between Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek colleague Nikos Kotzias.
These talks will be the foundation for the upcoming round of negotiations on the name, with Greece and with the mediation of UN Special Representative Matthew Nimetz, on 30 March in Vienna.
Zaev said that he sees willingness on both sides to find a lasting and working solution to the name dispute.
The MEPs held talks with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani, the Speaker of Parliament, Talat Xhaferi, the State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, Viktor Dimoski, as well as with the Chairman of the VMRO-DPMNE party, Hristijan Mickovski and with representatives of the leadership and reformists in the party. They met also the “Young European Federalists” and representatives of civil society.