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Nimetz is coming with a proposal

January 9, 2013

By Nikos Meletis, Ethnos, 24.12.2012

A concrete proposal for the issue of the name will be brought at the beginning of January to Skopje and Athens by the intermediary Matthew Nimetz, obliging the two governments to take critical decisions so as to escape the responsibility of a possible dead-end, which would have serious consequences both for the EU and NATO.

The messages from the side of Nimetz are not positive, as his effort to re-state proposals that have been rejected by one side or the other is clear.

Mr Nimetz will arrive in Athens (8-9 January) from Skopje, in an effort to achieve progress, having the decision of the Council of Ministers of the EU for the European future of fYROM as a negotiatory lever.

The decision foresees that in Spring there will be a report from the (friendly toward Skopje) Commissioner S. Füle, that will note the steps taken in the procedure of the resolution of the issue of the name, so that the Ministers can then decide is they can agree to the start of accession negotiations of Skopje with the European Union by June.

this decision, however, in reality gives the possibility to mr Nimetz to define developments, as the submission of a proposal that Athens cannot accept would give the opportunity for those of our partners who for months have declared themselves in favour of the commencement of the accession negotiations, without the previous resolution of the name issue, under the temporary name fYROM, to put strong pressure on [Greece].

The messages that mr Nimetz has sent are not positive, as his effort to re-state proposals that in the past have been rejected with one or another way by the two sides is clear.

There are indications that the proposal will include a geographic adjective, without it being known whether it will be the prefix to “Republic” or to “Macedonia” (the first has been rejected by Athens) and at the same time it will not touch upon the issue of the identity and the language.

the “counterweight” will concern the width of use, as mr Nimetz is oriented toward proposing a name for bilateral relations and by international organisations and a non binding recommendation for the use in bilateral relations, while it avoids any discussion for the vesting of any solution in the constitution of fYROM.

If mr Nimetz does not change his orientation in the next two weeks (although efforts in this direction are being made), then the government will find itself faced with a difficult choice, as the rejection of a negative proposal will transfer the juxtaposition to a European level, and that in difficult circumstances, while its acceptance, apart for the negative impact for national interests, would send the politically erroneous message to the interior, as the impression would be given that under the pressure of the “lenders”, the government, even Antonis Samaras who identified a great part of his political career with the Skopjan issue, retreated to the demands of the Skopjans for the imposition of a variant of the “double name”.

They invited the Turkish FM for support

Skopje do not show any intention to compromise and the made sure, in a very ostentatious manner to send their own messages to Greece and Bulgaria, inviting the Turkish FM, A. Davutoglu, for a visit on Friday for the celebration of the 20 years of commencement of diplomatic relations of the two countries. Mr Davutoglu, apart from his usual bombastic declarations, expressed one more the support of Ankara to the accession of “Macedonia” to NATO and the EU, declaring that “the stability, the prosperity and the security of ‘Macedonia’ is equally important to us as our own stability and security”. The Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister showed special interest for the safeguarding and promotion of the Ottoman heritage (with Turkish financing), while the opening and the functioning of cultural centers, of fYROM in Constantinople and of Turkey in the Old Market of Skopje was also decided.

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