ATHENS – President of the Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos sent clear messages on Thursday to FYROM and Turkey, as well as calling for the resolution of the Cyprus issue, during his meeting with visiting President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid at the presidential mansion in Athens.
Greece supports the prospect of FYROM’s accession to the European Union and NATO, but this is conditional on reaching an agreement for the resolution of the name issue with the neighbouring country that accords with history, international law and the European acquis, Pavlopoulos said.
“The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s accession to NATO and the EU requires an agreement on the name that guarantees the abolition of irredentism,” stated Pavlopoulos. He also made it clear that “before the agreement is ratified, FYROM must first revise its Constitution,” pointing out that no democratic state can legitimately sign binding international treaties that are in breach of its Constitution.
On relations with Turkey, Pavlopoulos repeated that Greece seeks relations of friendship and good neighbourhood and supports Turkey’s European perspective. “However, on Turkey’s part, this demands that it show real respect for the European acquis and international law as a whole. This means that the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty and Paris Treaty, which are crystal clear and leave no room to claim the existence of grey zones, should be fully respected by everyone. Especially, when to question them means questioning not only the borders of Greece but also of the European Union,” he said.
Additionally, on exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the region, he said that Turkey must respect the Law of the Sea even if it has not signed it because, based on legal precedents at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, it produces generally accepted tenets of customary international law.
Turkey must understand that there are no grey zones or questions in terms of the EEZ and the implementation of the Law of the Sea, Pavlopoulos said, adding that violations of the Law of the Sea cannot be accepted because that would set a bad precedent for other regions of the European Union.
On Cyprus, he reiterated that it is a European and international matter, noting that Greece seeks a fair and viable solution as soon as possible. He clarified that it would be inconceivable for the Republic of Cyprus, which is a full member of the European Union, to agree to limitations on its sovereignty – as would result from the presence of occupation troops and anachronistic third-party guarantees. This, he noted, would be contrary to all sense of international and European law and also create a dangerous, even disastrous, precedent for the sovereignty of every EU member-state.
Kersti Kaljulaid, who is paying an official visit to Greece, said that Greece and Estonia share many common values and positions within the European Union.
She expressed her support for strenghtening solidarity to address present-day challenges, both in the fiscal-financial sector and in the management of migration flows. Kaljulaid said that she supports EU enlargement but only on terms that ensure the respect of European values by the candidate member-states.
Pointing to the difficult task faced by Greece in the management of the refugee and migration crisis, Kaljulaid said she was in favour of achieving the goals of EU asylum policy and underlined the importance of this plan because, as she said, nobody knows where the next crisis will strike.
She also referred to Estonia’s contribution to the activities of the EU border agency Frontex and expressed her country’s intention to continue cooperating with Greece in this direction, while pointing to the strong interest shown by many Estonians for investments in Greece.