FYROM’s PM Zaev: Good to wrap up name issue by June

The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) hopes a solution over the name issue with Greece is found the latest by June, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told the news site Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), adding that he was convinced both sides were committed to a solution.

“It would be good to wrap this up by June because that would encourage a decision [by Brussels] for start of EU accession negotiations. I am aware that each passing month [without a solution] will not go in our favour,” Zaev said in the interview, adding that a solution might be possible by the end of March.

“I remain convinced that above all Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras truly wants to find a solution. I see that the [Greek Foreign] Minister [Nikos Kotzias] is also making efforts,” he said, adding that “a solution is possible. But at the same time, we remain convinced that this solution must protect the identity and the dignity of both sides.”

Asked to comment on what would happen if a change in FYROM’s constitution was set as a prerequisite to a solution, Zaev said that “both sides should not bring up issues that would make a solution impossible,” adding that “in this process we must be driven by facts. I have no dilemma that when it comes to the geographical territory of Macedonia, we take its northern or upper part, the southern part belongs to Greece and the eastern part to Bulgaria.”

He noted that the problem “revolves around the name. We should not tackle things that will cause additional problems which will only bring us further away from a solution,” reiterating his optimism that a solution is possible.