Today’s meeting between Prime Minister Alexsi Tsipras and FYROM PM Zoran Zaev is considered a key turning point in the effort to reach a FYROM naming solution, as the two sides had said that they would meet if there was sufficient progress to say that a solution is within reach.
The talks are being held on the sidelines of an EU-Western Balkans summit .
Both leaders, who attended a Party of European Socialists (PES) meeting yesterday, expressed optimism about the prospects of reaching a solution.
With less than two months before the Nato and EU summits at which FYROM hopes to advance its applications, Athens is reportedly considering offering its approval for the EU to set a date for Skopje to start formal accession talks.
Though Greece’s position for years has been that a comprehensive settlement is the prerequisite for such approval, sources say that Athens now believes that a roadmap for EU accession could include the specific steps towards a naming solution that would satisfy Athens’ demands for a FYROM constitutional revision.
Athens’ decision will depend on the procedures and guarantees that would be agreed upon for Skopje to change its constitution, within a set timetable, in order to include the country’s new composite name.
Still, Athens approval may not be enough to advance FYROM’s EU candidacy, as France has stated its objections to further enlargement. It is possible, however, that France would approve allowing the EU to offer Skopje a date for the start of accession talks.
As for FYROM receiving an invitation to join Nato at the Alliance’s 11-12 July summit, both Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his FYROM counterpart, Nikola Dimitrov, have said that there does not appear to be enough time to reach a naming solution by then.