Germany's Merkel supportive of FYR Macedonia name change
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (R) welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during a meeting at the Presidential Mandion in Athens, Greece, Jan. 1, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDROS VLACHOS
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (R) talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during a meeting at the Presidential Mandion in Athens, Greece, Jan. 11, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDROS VLACHOS
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L) welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during a meeting at the Presidential Mandion in Athens, Greece, Jan. 11, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDROS VLACHOS
Athens, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- Germany's chancellor on Friday signaled her support for an initiative that would see the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia change its name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia in order to end a dispute with Greece, saying it would be a positive step forward not only for the two nations but for Europeans as a whole.
Angela Merkel spoke in Athens during a two-day visit to Greece, where she met with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, an official trip that coincided with a final debate ahead of a vote in Skopje over the controversial name change, which needs the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers in the Balkan nation's parliament.
The measures, known as the Prespa accord, would then need ratification from Greece's parliament. If passed, it would pave the way for Macedonia to join NATO and even the European Union.
Pavlopoulos reiterated his claim that Greece was entitled to billions of euros of reparations from Germany dating back to the Nazi occupation of the southern European country during the Second World War.
He did, however, thank Merkel for her efforts during Greece's bailout following the 2008 economic crisis and its help taking in migrants who arrived on Greek territory.
Greece was the EU nation worst-hit by the economic crisis. The government at the time entered into a massive bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund and the EU totaling 289 billion euros ($330 bn).
It entailed unpopular austerity measures and deep cuts to public spending.