Signatory PMs of Prespa Agreement call on Skopje to respect deal

The former prime ministers of Greece and North Macedonia, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, who signed the landmark Prespa Agreement in 2018, have called on the leadership in Skopje to respect the terms of the deal.

“Following recent elections in North Macedonia, the new leadership has made provocative statements, violating the letter and spirit of Prespa,” they wrote in a joint article on the Euractiv website.

They were referring to repeated violations of the agreement by the newly elected president, Gordana Siljanovska, and prime minister of the Balkan country, Hristijan Mickoski, who insist on referring to it as “Macedonia.” Mickoski has not formed a government yet and is expected to do so next week.

Tsipras and Zaev also called on Brussels and the international community to take a stance against these violations.

“The EU and the international community must make it clear that respect of the agreement is the only path to further democratic integration, to European accession and pre-accession support,” they wrote, warning that any violation of the deal will lead to “an existential challenge not only for North Macedonia’s European future, but for its future as a whole.”

However, the EU, they went on to say, should leave behind its “business-as-usual approach” and adopt a more positive stance on enlargement.

“It must be clear to all countries in the region that the peaceful resolution of differences has benefits for the people of the Balkans and their leadership. That sacrifices are rewarded, not cynically disregarded.”

The Prespa Agreement, signed in June 2018, resolved a 25-year name dispute between Greece and North Macedonia, which had soured relations between the two neighbors and impeded the latter’s EU prospects.