The prospects for cooperation between Greece and North Macedonia in road, rail and air transport and the construction of related infrastructure were examined during a meeting in Skopje on Thursday between Greek Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis with North Macedonia’s Transport and Communications Minister Goran Sugareski.
In statements afterward, Spirtzis said the transport ministries of the two countries are working intensively to prepare agreements that will be ready to sign as soon as possible, possibly even during an upcoming visit to Skopje by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
He noted that the Prespes Agreement opens up the prospects for closer ties between the two countries and said that Greece will assist North Macedonia in terms of its relations with European and international organisations in the transport sector.
“…there is a vision that we are called upon to implement,” Spirtzis noted, adding that this vision was that the Balkan countries should be governed by the same regime as the countries of Central Europe, where there is unobstructed movement of goods and people without delays using many alternative methods.
Sugareski said that Greece was a strategic partner for North Macedonia and that both countries place emphasis on the rail link running alongside Corridor 10, as well as the reopening of the railway from Bitola in North Macedonia to Florina in Greece. He said the two sides were also discussing the signature of an agreement on conducting joint border and customs checks, in a single building, for the railway border crossings at Idomeni-Gevgelija and at Neos Kafkasos-Kremenica. The aim was to speed up the procedures involved and the faster movement of goods and passengers.
Asked when road signs in Greece will be changed in line with the country’s new name, North Macedonia, Spirtzis replied that road signs will be changed according to international and European standards, with those showing the direction to the country changing to read ‘North Macedonia’ and those showing the direction toward the city reading ‘Skopje’.
“The two governments have a heightened sense of responsibility and discount the political cost and the extreme political voices that did not want the agreement. Therefore, you can be certain that road signs are the least of our concern. We will put them up with great pleasure, as great as our sorrow in the event that, after they are put up, specific circles attempt to destroy them,” Spirtzis said.