The PES warmly welcomes the agreement reached by prime ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, and the governments in Athens and Skopje, in the long-running dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic.

Today, the Greek government announced its intention to recognise its northern neighbour as ‘Republic of North Macedonia’, and its counterpart in Skopje expressed its will to start the procedure of changing the country’s name.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“We are proud that this historic agreement was reached while progressive governments are running both countries. The negotiations and the proposed solution for solution has only become possible after the government of Zoran Zaev came to power in Skopje, ending the years of pointless denial by the conservatives.

“This is a great development for both countries, as well as a victory for democracy and stability in the Balkans region and for the progressive political family in Europe.”

The efforts of both Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev were welcomed by all PES prime ministers in Sofia during the PES preparation meeting for the EU-Western Balkans summit just 3 weeks ago.

Mr Stanishev added:

“This agreement proves that progressive governments care about the future of the European project. It makes it possible for Northern Macedonia to start accession talks with NATO and the EU, and contributes to the stability of the Balkans.

“The PES calls on all governments in the EU to prove that those who make difficult decisions are rewarded, and to invite Skopje to start the accession negotiations with the European Union at the 28-29 June EU summit.”