UMD: Time for Greek Leadership

In the lead up to tomorrow’s visit to Macedonia by the Greek Foreign Minister and current EU Council President Evangelos Venizelos, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) strongly believes that it is time for a sincere display of Greek leadership on the future of Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

“It takes two to tango and the status quo just isn’t doing it anymore,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Greece’s position jeopardizes the future of regional stability and the entire NATO and EU enlargement process by preventing Macedonia from joining Euro-Atlantic integration.”

UMD would like to remind Venizelos that Greece and Macedonia are neighbors, and at the end of the day, it is in the best interest of both countries to improve their political ties, which will bring greater prosperity to economic, touristic, and cultural collaboration. According to statistics, Greece is one of Macedonia’s top foreign investors, Greek business interests are stable and secure in Macedonia, and Macedonian tourists travel to Greece en masse during tourism seasons, helping the local Greek economy.

“Since assuming the role of EU Council President, Venizelos has not been acting as an independent and objective voice, using every opportunity to tarnish the image of Macedonia in Brussels, and insulting Macedonians by calling the Macedonian language pseudo-Macedonian before the entire French Parliament,” said UMD Board Member and Director of European Operations Filip Altiparmakovski.

“Despite five annual recommendations, most recently in the fall of 2013, by the European Commission for Macedonia to start EU accession talks, Venizelos has been misleading European policymakers and public opinion that Macedonia is not meeting the Copenhagen criteria. The EU must stop its policy of double standards towards Macedonia. Neither Greece nor Bulgaria would meet the Copenhagen criteria, if they were to apply for EU membership at this point,” concluded Altiparmakovski.

Venizelos is arriving to Macedonia from Pristina by road and will meet with Macedonia’s President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Fatmir Besimi, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, DUI President Ali Ahmeti, and SDSM President Zoran Zaev. He will depart Macedonia for Pristina by road where he will depart for Tirana via air transportation.

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