European Parliament reps exchange barbs in tweets relating to FYROM name issue

Gianni Pittella, head of the European Parliament’s Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group on Thursday accused Manfred Weber, head of the Europarliament’s European People‚Äôs Party (EPP) group, along with Greek main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, of being “irresponsible” and “working for the division of Europe”, in a tweet on Thursday.

Pittella was reacting to a tweet by the EPP leader, who had expressed support for Mitsotakis and had called on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to “clarify his position on the issue of FYROM’s name”. In his tweets, Weber had also called on Tsipras to “put order in his governing coalition,” as it said that his ruling coalition partner, ANEL leader Panos Kammenos, “has already rejected all possible solutions.”

In his response tweet, S&D’s Pittella said, “There is finally a real opportunity to solve a divisive issue on the name of FYROM. It would be terrible to miss this date with history. It is irresponsible that @kmitsotakis and @ManfredWeber work for division in Europe, instead of progress and reconciliation.”

The S&D head urged that “European Socialists and Democrats call on both Greece and FYROM’s leadership to continue their efforts to find a positive and lasting solution for the Western Balkans and the whole of Europe.”

In addition, Weber’s tweet also prompted a response from Dimitris Papadimoulis, European Parliament vice president and MEP for SYRIZA, the senior member of the ruling coalition, who tweeted, “It’s absolutely normal for @ManfredWeber to endorse @kmitsotakis, not SYRIZA & @atsipras. But what about his stance on #FYROM name issue? Is he supporting nationalism or @EPP’s official position? We are waiting for his final answer.”

Earlier, SYRIZA’s press office had released a terse statement which said, “Mitsotakis managed to export ND’s domestic crisis on the name issue as far as the EPP. Congratulations.”