Following my recent article at “Nea Proini” {} considering the recent declarations made the President of North Macedonia, but also by the leader of the opposition party and most probably the next Prime Minister of a coalition government, concerning their right (as they perceive it) to name their country as they wish, and to the contrary of the provisions of the “Prespes Agreement”, but also the declarations and statements made by the Greek leadership, I wish to come back and highlight the following:
These declarations made publically, draw the attention of the International Community including the EU, the United States amongst others and most importantly the Greek government, while they stimulated the reflections of the Greek people on this very sensitive to them issue.
Those initial reflections might be perceived in a positive manner, as regards the Greek interests and positions, but following observations are required to verify an attractive outcome and “end state” positive results.
Most Greeks for several reasons feel betrayed from the Greek Government of the time, for the acceptance of the “Prespes Agreement”, raising blames to it once again, observing again the recurrence of the issue. The present article though, has no intention to make any analysis whither that decision from the Greek Government to accept “Prespes” was right, ensuring the country’s’ national interests or not.
As regards North Macedonia, I strongly believe that the country seeks for full membership accession to the European Union, because through the EU, aims at achieving prosperity, development, financial, social and political security that the Union ensures for all of its member states.
Over the last years, North Macedonia has made concrete steps for development towards the EU accession, thus creating the required preconditions for the benefit of all Balkan countries (not yet members of the EU) to accomplish their european ambitions. Only then, regional stability, development and peaceful co-existence of the people in the Balkan Peninsula can be materialized.
After NATO's Summit in Bucharest in 2008, when the Alliance agreed upon the resolvement of the name issue for (by the time) FYROM and now North Macedonia, to be the precondition for its accession to NATO, lots have been achieved; it should be considered that Skopje did their homework towards their European integration. The aforementioned declarations by the North Macedonia elite though, present a drawback for the country, against their aspirations to the EU potential.
It has to be highlighted that, back in 2008 the main aim for Skopje was to be integrated to NATO and not to the EU; with the “Prespes Agreement” their aim has been achieved; and they very well know that regardless of any circumstances, they will remain NATO member country. In other words, regardless potential provocations may appear on the diplomatic tables and any choices of revisionism (including the official name of the country) against Greece in this case, they will remain in NATO, simply because there is not any expelling mechanism in the Alliance.
Consequently and in a very distinct manner, the Greek Prime Minister warned them that they will challenge their potential to the EU integration by taking the aforementioned choices.
I will reiterate myself saying once more, that their goal to be in the NATO Alliance has been achieved; and when it comes to the EU integration, if they follow concrete paths fulfilling their obligations, their accession to the EU could be achieved in the following years. If that happens, the Greek government might face a significant challenge; either to agree and accept them in the EU, or not, using as rationale the “name” issue and the meanwhile provocations made by the leaders of North Macedonia. It can easily be understood that in this case, another set of meaningless negotiations might be required. Eventually, a new Bucharest, now in the EU context will be created and Greece must bear the cost of a significant diplomatic capital expenditure. On the other hand, personally, I don’t foresee Skopje to be ready in the mid-term to access the EU; thus, they may have estimated that, by questioning now the agreed country’s name, and naming it in accordance with “their right” or as they wish, this name will stick to the european minds by the time of their accession.
The main issue though for the Greek people’s perception remains unchanged; Skopje has achieved their integration to NATO and now that they know that expulsion from the alliance is out of question, they present their revisionism against Greece, in a fearless matter towards their EU potential.
To my humble perception Greece now has two options:
In the EU context and assuming that we “learned our lesson” from the revisionist Skopje, all necessary precautionary actions must be taken in order to ensure Greece’s national interest. Further down the road of such negotiations, Greece should be very-very ungenerous towards Skopje path to the EU. My proposals as stated in my previous article to “Nea Proini” remain unchanged.
In the NATO context though, is has to be assumed that the bureaucracy will not accept any declination of the provisions and the agreements for the name of North Macedonia. At the same time I estimate that the following will be realized:
- Officials and officers from North Macedonia, being under national orders in meetings, will use the provocative and against the Prespes Agreement name for their country. As a consequence to that, at any instance and state of play, the Greek stuff is obliged to react in a rather parallel manner as we act on a very similar issue concerning the Montreux Convention (referring to the name of “The Straits”) drawing the attention of the participants. Is has to be assumed though, that this reaction will soon cause “fatigue” for the new staff members and to those bureaucrats that they are unaware or unwilling to consider existing political sensitivities.
Furthermore, the issue will be considered a bilateral one, and soon, I foresee an isolation of the greek claims and rationale, against allies who eventually are not interested in and to those who may consider that our reaction introduce drawbacks for the allied processes and decisions.
Even worse, it is estimated that some of the staff (International-IS or Military-IMS) will pose the rhetoric question “if it really matters?” or “if the Greek objections have substance?”, blaming Greece for showing non-flexibility, or unwilling to compromise. At the same moment, it has to be expected that Turkey, will take the opportunity to fully support North Macedonia in their positions. Eventually soon, Greece will have to cope with several “bilateral” cases in the alliance (!) and I will stop here restraining to analyze it further!
Furthermore, Greece has to come with a rationale each time when consensus or agreement cannot be achieved, assuming that the North Macedonia provocations have been included in the subject text. It is evitable that in these circumstances a significant diplomatic capital should be paid, from our side.
In order to encounter that, a dynamic action should be taken to handle the issue, adopting if so required an extreme way ahead, if so needed to demonstrate our firm will and commitment to resolve the issue once and for all! Potential call for Article 4 consultations among the allies, or alternatively to ask the staff (IS-IMS) to put upcoming papers, proposals and decisions on hold for some time, which should allow us to consider a way out and examine potential solutions.
Aiming at gaining proper level of allied attention, a comprehensive approach to allies who do understand our positions, to ensure proper support from them, should be explored; that will work as a pressure mechanism to Skopje and others who may consider challenging our national interests and priorities.

Ο Γεώργιος Τσόγκας ...

Βίας ο Πριηνεύς: Άκουγε πολλά, μίλα την ώρα που πρέπει.

Θαλής o Μιλήσιος: Καλύτερα να σε φθονούν παρά να σε λυπούνται.

Κλεόβουλος ο Λίνδιος: Το μέτρο είναι άριστο.

Περίανδρος ο Κορίνθιος: Οι ηδονές είναι θνητές, οι αρετές αθάνατες.

Πιττακός ο Μυτιληναίος: Με την ανάγκη δεν τα βάζουν ούτε οι θεοί.

Σωκράτης: Εν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα. Ουδείς εκών κακός.

Θουκυδίδης: Δύο τα εναντιότατα ευβουλία είναι, τάχος τε και οργήν.

Πλάτων: Άγνοια, η ρίζα και ο μίσχος όλου του κακού. 

Αριστοτέλης: Δεν υπάρχει τίποτε πιο άνισο από την ίση μεταχείριση των ανίσων.