The agreement between the governments of Greece and FYROM to settle the naming issue undoubtedly creates a new reality. Obviously, there are many questions until the full text of the agreement is made public, but there can be no doubt that the way has opened to resolve an issue that has bedeviled the two countries for the last 25 years.
Naturally, there is much to be done before it is finalised, as the political scene in Skopje is rather murky. It is, however, the first time after the first period of governance by Kiro Gligorov that a government assumes the burden of adopting a mutually acceptable solution.
The wager for Mr. Zaev, and our country, is to manage to persuade his compatriots that ratification of the agreement constitutes the only way out, so that a chronic dispute that is in nobody’s interest can end.
It should also be made clear and understandable to all that the resolution of this issue could not have happened without a mutual compromise. The extreme positions and reactions and returning to the past does not help and does not solve problems.
A composite name with a geographic marker was the steadfast Greek position and the only way to close this national wound.
What is needed now is calm, clear-mindedness, and an assessment of the broader national interest. The government has a duty to fully inform political parties and Greek citizens about all the details of the agreement, with a view to securing a maximum degree of national consensus, and not to exploit it to achieve opportunistic, petty partisan ambitions.
The opposition is obliged to examine the agreement based on longstanding national positions, and not based on its narrow opposition interest.
Greek society has been divided enough all these years by futile nationalist outbursts and patriotic salvos. It would be a tragic error for us to give an opportunity to those reacting in FYROM to undermine the agreement, if indeed it meets the preconditions that we had set years ago.
One needs calmness, clear-mindedness, and a gauging of our national interests, and not easy celebrations or shrill cries for domestic consumption.