Zoran Zaev’s statements on the “Macedonian language” brought the strong retort of Alexis Tispras’ coalition partner and current Defence Minister and leader of Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos. “It is now obvious that all talks on the survival of the so-called Prespes agreement have come to an end”, Kammenos said, referring to the “provocative behaviour and irredentism” from the part of Macedonia.
On his part, however, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in an interview that all the necessary moves would be made by the government of Macedonia to ensure “the absolute respect for the Prespes agreement from our neighboring country”. As he stressed, there needs to be “a detailed discussion and explanation of certain things in relation to the agreement on the part of fYROMacedonia”.
The focus of the Government on the constitutional amendments
In Athens, there have been reports stating that an interpretive statement in relation to the Agreement on Language and Ethnicity is being prepared, something that was condemned by the head of the Greek Prime Minister’s cabinet Vaggelis Kalpadakis. Speaking to reporters in Moscow, where he is accompanying Alexis Tsipras during his visit, he referred to the government spokesman’s statements, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, stressing that the attention of the Greek government focuses on the process of constitutional amendments.
Tzanakopoulos: It is unlikely that the agreement will not be ratified in the Greek Parliament
At the same time, the turmoil that has been caused in Athens in the wake of Zaev’s statements has raised concern to MPs outside the coalition government who had announced that they would support the deal, mainly from The Potami party. “Progressive forces will realize the necessity to take advantage of the opportunity to finally resolve one of the last hotspots of tension in the Balkans”, said the spokesman of the Greek government, estimating that it is unlikely that the agreement would not be ratified, given that the Constitutional Review has been successfully completed on the part of Macedonia.
It is reminded that New Democracy, through its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has asked the Greek parliamentarians not to ratify the Prespes agreement. What’s more, in today’s announcement the main opposition party reiterates the accusation to the government that it has granted “the so-called ‘Macedonian ethnicity’ and language, feeding the irredentist claims of Skopje”.