A bombshell report in To Vima’s Vimatodotis column on 11 May indicates that Athens and Skopje are heading rapidly toward a new interim agreement that will enshrine FYROM’s new name – sources say Upper Macedonia – and give FYROM two years to change its constitution and establish use of the new name domestically.
The UN Security Council and the European Union would be guarantors of the deal, which, if signed, will allow Nato to invite Skopje to join at its July summit, and allow the EU to give FYROM the much-awaited date to start accession talks.
No Greek government has to date accepted an interim agreement that would allow Skopje to join Nato and start talks with the EU without a prior comprehensive settlement on the name and all related issues.
The current SYRIZA government’s position until now is that a revision of FYROM’s constitution is a necessary condition for it to advance its EU and Nato membership aspirations.
The interim agreement would commit Skopje to amend its constitution to include the new name for domestic use and to remove all irredentist references, but also to resolve the thorny issues of language and ethnic identity, within the two-year transitional period.
It is unclear what provisions such an agreement would have to protect the Greek side in the event that Skopje does not honour its commitments in the aforementioned timeframe.
The agreement will be discussed by PM Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev when they meet on 17 May, and if they give their final approval on the details, it will go forward.