Greek crisis delayed resolving the name dispute with neighbouring Macedonia

The Greek crisis means it is unmotivated to hold talks aimed at resolving the name dispute, according to Macedonian foreign minister Nikola Poposki.

Though he acknowledged the urgency of the situation, Poposki said that the dispute will not be solved by applying the Croatia-Slovenia model – international arbitration by the EU.

“We are talking about disputes and challenges of a different nature,” he said.

At the heart of the disagreements between Croatia and Slovenia was a border dispute. In 2009 after months of fruitless negotiations, Slovenia and Croatia, with the help of the EU, signed an agreement allowing an international arbitration team to settle the 18-year disagreement over the sea and land border between the two countries.

Poposki says that Macedonia has no alternatives to NATO and EU membership which have been blocked by Greece over the name dispute.

Athens argues that use of the name Macedonia suggests a territorial claim to the northern Greek province of the same name. In 2008 it blocked Macedonia’s NATO invitation and one year later it used its influence in the EU to prevent the start of the Macedonian EU accession talks despite recommendations from the European Commission.

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