Greece’s positions are absolutely clear and fully in line with European and international Law, Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Monday in a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
“Greece considers itself an integral part of the European Union and this is proven by the fact that, even for major foreign policy matters, it defends itself on the basis of EU issues and European law in general,” he added.
While all Balkan states have a place in the EU, Pavlopoulos said, this was subject to their meeting specific conditions and criteria. “All the states of the Balkan Peninsula have a place in this journey towards the creation of an integrated EU; but always subject to the unquestionable condition that they fully respect international and European Law as a whole, and thus the European acquis as a whole. In this way, we will creatively add the Balkan peninsula to the EU as its equal southeastern flank and not its problematic Balkan ‘exception’,” he noted.
In this spirit, he added, Athens believes that relations between Belgrade and Pristina must also be governed by full respect for the principles and rules established by UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999. “We hope that this message will be sufficiently understood,” Pavlopoulos concluded.
Regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Greek president repeated that FYROM was clearly undermining its prospects of joining the EU “as long as it insists on the use of a name that, besides being a provocative misrepresentation of history, also foments irredentism.” The European acquis excludes candidate member-states that in any way contest the status quo with respect to EU member-state borders, he pointed out.
Pavlopoulos also sent a message to Albania regarding its treatment of the Greek minority there: “Acts that are clearly contrary to the European acquis – such as, for example, the recent brutal violation of fundamental human rights, and in particular property, undermine [Albania’s] European perspective,” he pointed out.
Regarding Turkey and its stance on the Cyprus issue, he said: “With the obvious, of course, clarification that this is an international and, above all, a European issue, we seek, as soon as possible, a fair and viable solution.
“It is, however, inconceivable that the Republic of Cyprus, as a full member of the EU, should have a limits on its sovereignty, as would arise if there were occupation troops and anachronistic third-party guarantees on the island. This is contrary to any concept of international and European law. In addition, it would create a dangerous and catastrophic precedent for the sovereignty of every EU member-state,” the president said.
As regards Greek-Turkish relations in general, Pavlopoulos stressed that “everyone must respect Greece’s borders, with emphasis on those in the Aegean, and the Treaty of Lausanne, in accordance with the quintessence of international law.”
Any challenge to these, either direct or indirect, was “inconceivable and self-evidently rejected,” Pavlopoulos stressed, while adding: “We are always a good friend and good neighbor to Turkey. We, the Greeks, want a democratic Turkey, we want a prosperous Turkey, a Turkey that has a European perspective. On its part, Turkey must prove its full, honest and active respect for international and European law as a whole.”