European Commission supports UN-led process for name issue

European Commission spokesperson for foreign affairs Maja Kocijancic on Monday repeated the Commission’s position regarding the name issue between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), noting the need to maintain good neighbourly relations and negotiate a mutually acceptable solution.

“We have welcomed steps in this respect and have been supportive of the process overall,” she said in response to questions about the progress of negotiations for a solution, while noting that the Commission has made if clear that it will not discuss the ongoing UN-led efforts for a solution in the press room.

Asked if there was also “international momentum” for a solution, Kocijancic pointed to the recently published enlargement package and noted that the Commission has been “engaging in the past weeks, particularly in speaking out, so indeed there is a momentum that needs to be taken forward.”

At the same time, she added, the negotiations needed to be protected in order to deliver results.

“So, once again, we believe that the momentum is there but of course this is for the negotiators under UN auspices to take forward with, of course, the EU’s support,” she said.

Also commenting on the same issue, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas pointed to the statements made by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Athens the previous week, saying: “Under no circumstances did the Commission say that we are taking over the negotiation; it is a negotiation for the parties involved, it is a UN-led process, and he called on both prime ministers to advance along this path.”