North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in Thessaloniki on Thursday that his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed he would be more actively involved to help Skopje get a date for the start of the accession negotiations with the European Union, the Beta news agency reported.
After meeting Mitsotakis, Zaev said he was “happy and satisfied.”
He said he believed Greece could be of great help to his country in an attempt to change the EU attitude and get a date for opening the talks.
The European Council failed to agree on when to start negotiations with both Albania and North Macedonia, mainly because of the French President Emmanuel Macron’s opposition.
But Zaev said that France and Greece had traditionally good relationship and that Athens was pretty influential in Brussels.
That, he hoped, could help his country to get the date after 15 years of obstructions from Athens.
The chances for that appeared after Zaev and the then Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras put an end to the 28-year long dispute over the name of Zaev’s country.
After the two agreed in June 2018 that the new name would be North Macedonia, the EU described it as a historic agreement and promised Skopje it would get the date for starting the negotiations soon.
However, that proved to be an unmet promise which many EU officials criticised.
Following the decision, Zaev called early elections for April 12 but they could be postponed due to the procedure for North Macedonia's NATO membership this December or in January next year.
Mitsotakis’ cabinet said the two discussed the European Council’s decision and reaffirmed the Greek support to the policy of the EU enlargement.