“You have given up everything. You capitulated on everything,” former Greek premier and main opposition New Democracy MP Antonis Samaras said on Saturday, addressing parliament during a censure motion called by his party over the Athens-Skopje deal on the name issue.
“You are signing a monstrosity of an agreement that, instead of solving the problems, will act as a trigger for destabilisation,” Samaras warned the government, accusing it of using the name issue to cause division within ND. He also criticised President of the Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos, saying that the institution of the presidency did not have the right to judge “open political issues”.
Samaras, who was foreign minister when the dispute with Skopje over the name first arose in the 1990s and played a major part in the direction that Athens’ policy would take in the decades that followed, said his actions had been backed by the majority of Greeks, the parliament and the political leaders of the time, such as the elder Constantine Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou. The present government, by contrast, “is giving away everything in secret diplomacy with no one’s support, not even that of your coalition partner.”
“We, the Greek people and their political parties, in spite of all the disagreements that naturally exist, have never given legitimacy to [FYROM’s] irredentism. This is exactly what you are doing now. I repeat: I have alway been opposed to a name that includes the word ‘Macedonia’,” Samaras said.
Among his objections to the proposed agreement was its recognition of a “Macedonian” nationality and language, the three different alternative forms of describing the nationality, which he said was contrary to its erga omnes application, and the restrictions it would place on Greece, including a possible change of books etc.
“At the same time, Greece is making a commitment not to obstruct the other side’s accession to the EU even over bilateral issues, such as pollution on the Axios River, when we have to make serious concessions in Thessaloniki port.”