Greece's Tsipras makes first visit to northern neighbour since name change

After nearly 30 years of icy relations, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in North Macedonia today on a diplomatic visit - the first since Greece and its northern neighbour settled a long-standing name dispute.

Hoping to lay the groundwork for new ties between Greece and North Macedonia, Tsipras and North Macedonian President George Ivanov look set to thrash out their remaining differences. The Alternate Foreign Minister, Sia Anagnostopoulou, spoke to Euronews on the importance of this visit less than a year after the signing of the Prespa Agreement.

The Prespa agreement saw The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia change its name to North Macedonia. It was hoped that this would settle the territorial dispute over a territory in Greece which is also called Macedonia.

“The culture of mutual understanding and mutual trust dominated by the Prespa Agreement is practically implemented with this visit. The agreements to be signed there are to the mutual benefit of the citizens of both countries. It’s very important because we see that these were requests of the local societies which now, thanks to the Prespa Agreement, are involved in the big picture” said Anagnostopoulou.

The Minister commented on the issue of the commercial use of the adjective Macedonian that has come up in recent international exhibitions and fairs, concerning the use of Macedonian name for Greek products.

“We know that businesses from North Macedonia were using, until the signing of the Prespa Agreement, the name Macedonian but mainly they claimed that the products were coming from the Republic of Macedonia, which was then the constitutional name of the country. There was an issue raised for an exhibition in China, but no one knows that since 2000 and until the signing of Prespa Agreement at least 10 Greek businesses could not have the name “Macedonian”, because there was no deal between the two countries” Anagnostopoulou told Euronews.


By: Euronews (64953.30)

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