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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Top Story arrow Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis meets with North Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani (Brussels, 16 October 2019)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis meets with North Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani (Brussels, 16 October 2019)

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis meets with North Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani (Brussels, 16 October 2019)Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis met with the Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the Greek Permanent Representation in Brussels. The meeting took place ahead of the European Council meeting, which will look at, among other things, the accession perspective of the Western Balkans.

During the meeting, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that Greece is firmly in favour of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, on the condition of compliance with conditionality and good neighbourly relations. With regard to the latter, Mr. Varvitsiotis placed special emphasis on compliance with the Prespa Agreement and in particular the removal of any irredentist elements or symbols that concern the history of Greece, highlighting the need for immediate use of the country’s new name and elimination of the name “Republic of Macedonia” from all public buildings, as well as the need to update school syllabi and books. Mr. Varvitsiotis underscored that Greece is facing a major challenge: to achieve having neighbours on its northern borders who belong to the large EU family.

Mr. Osmani pointed to the symbolism of the meeting, stressing that it manifests the will of the two countries’ leaderships to carry on a dialogue and work together. He noted that his country’s goal is to create, together with Greece, a strategic cooperation that benefits the whole region, and he agreed that the launching of the accession process will strengthen stability in the Balkans. Finally, he argued that Greece, as the oldest EU and NATO member in the region, has the necessary experience and guarantees to play a leading role in the Balkans and a substantial role in other states’ accession bids.

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