Just hours after the cabinet reshuffle, and as the post-memorandum government is beginning its work, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos once again declared his opposition to the FYROM-Greece accord.
Kammenos, responding to what he considered provocative statements by top government officials in Skopje, said that the Greek people will have the last word, apparently implying that Greece should conduct a referendum on the agreement, as FYROM will do at the end of September.
Many Greeks are vehemently opposed to the agreement’s recognition of a Macedonia language and ethnicity, and FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov’s statement, before the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, that he is a Macedonian and speaks Macedonian, rekindled the anger of opponents of the accord in Greece.
Kammenos, whose Independent Greeks party according to the polls will not have enough support to enter parliament in the next general election, is banking on the backlash against the accord in order to rally his right-wing electoral base.
In his remarks at a meeting of EU defence ministers in Vienna, Kammenos said that the “provocative statements” by FYROM’s prime minister and foreign minister [regarding the existence of a Macedonian language and ethnicity] are torpedoing every effort to find a solution, as if the Greece-FYROM agreement had not already been signed.
“The reference to a ‘Macedonian nation’ contravenes every agreement. The only thing they manage to do is to enrage the Greek people, who will have the last word, regardless of the referendum and the constitutional revision in FYROM,” Kammenos declared.
It is unclear whether he was referring to the prospect of a referendum in Greece, or his threat that if the agreement is tabled in parliament he will revoke his party’s trust in the government and demand snap elections, which in part would be viewed as a referendum on the Greece-FYROM accord.
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