Editorial: Neither triumphs nor disasters

The critical issue is not the concessions, but whether the accord meets our own national preconditions

Thursday, June 14, 2018
It seems that over 25 years of divisive disputes over the FYROM naming issue are not enough, and so we continue undaunted, reproducing the same futile roles. On the one side there is talk of triumph and on the other disaster-mongering as regards the draft settlement that was finally tabled in parliament yesterday.

Both the government and the main opposition party essentially refuse to acknowledge that the agreement is a compromise between the two sides, and that in a compromise one inevitably has concessions and retreats.

The critical issue is not the concessions, but whether the accord meets our own national preconditions and whether it offers a viable solution to a problem that has troubled us for so many years.

International agreements must transcend national myths and be characterised by diplomatic, geopolitical, and political realism. They are judged and evaluated based on today’s national interest, and not on real or imaginary historical reference points.

It would be well if we remember that Greece historically managed to ensure its national interests when its political leaders rose to the occasion, even against popular sentiment.

The reaction to the agreement, both here and in FYROM, show that we have a long road ahead before the agreement is completed. There are positive international reactions, but there is also a climate of social doubt in both countries.
That is to be expected to some degree, after so many years of mistrust and challenges from FYROM under the ridiculous Gruevski government.

These ills, as well as the ridiculous stance of the junior coalition partner in the Greek government, should not be allowed to torpedo the political and social climate and undermine the agreement. It is the obligation and duty of the entire political leadership to judge the agreement on its merits, based on national priorities that have been set some time ago, and not based on fleeting, petty partisan motives.

This divisive issue has existed far too long. Let us not perpetuate it and provide fodder to extreme nationalist groups in both countries.