Greece supports the EU and NATO prospects of the Western Balkan countries but only if they abide by the rules of good neighbourly relations, main opposition New Democracy President Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, as he arrived for the European People’s Party (EPP) summit meeting in Sofia.
“A strategic goal of our country is the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU and NATO. This, however, cannot happen unconditionally. And the primary, non-negotiable condition is the observance of the rules of good neighbourhood,” Mitsotakis said.
Commenting on efforts to resolve the FYROM name issue, Mitsotakis said that a solution must be both comprehensive and uniform. A necessary condition, he added, “was not only that it apply erga omnes but also constitutional revision in the neighbouring country.” This demand for a revision of FYROM’s constitution was a condition for a solution “from which our country cannot back down even a millimetre,” he said.
While in Sofia, Mitsotakis met Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and discussed the European prospects of the Western Balkans, as well as bilateral issues. During the meeting, he repeated his position on the need for the countries involved to abide by the rules of good neighbour relations, as well as the conditions for a solution in the name dispute with FYROM.
Given that Greece and Bulgaria are the only EU countries that share a border with Turkey, Mitsotakis also raised the issue of the release of the two Greek soldiers being held in a prison in Edirne.
Other meetings on the sidelines of the EPP summit included a brief meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, focusing on developments in Italy, and the European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market Mariya Gabriel, where he outlined ND’s plan for the Greek economy’s transition to the digital era.