Mayor of Thessaloniki: ‘You can’t get any more Macedonian than me’
“You should have good relations with your neighbours. The naming issue was derailed by the idiocy of politicians," said Yannis Boutaris.
Yannis Boutaris is again calling for a compromise solution on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) naming issue.
“There is no one who is more Macedonian than me. My heritage and upbringing says it all,” Boutaris said in an interview with Praktoreio FM radio, noting that the naming solution has been blocked for years by narrow-minded politicians.
Boutaris said that he went on the first visit to Skopje in 1991 with other members of Thessaloniki’s Commercial and Industrial Chamber, and that there have been regular visits since, in the context of inter-city diplomacy.
Boutaris invited FYROM’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev to ring in the New Year in Thessaloniki, and the two met up in the Greek port city.
“We had a private meal. I invited him to Thessaloniki for New Year’s celebrations. His brother and friends are in Thessaloniki every week. We agreed on conducting cultural exchanges with dance and music and lectures. We also spoke about Thessaloniki establishing a scholarship,” Boutaris said.
“You should have good relations with your neighbours. The naming issue was derailed by the idiocy of politicians. These people (of FYROM) want to find an identity, with concessions on both sides, and the opposition is also ready for a compromise. Zaev said he would change the name of the (Alexander the Great) Airport and change street signs,” Boutaris said, suggesting the conditions are right for a compromise settlement.