ATHENS- Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is set to meet North Macedonia’s leader Zoran Zaev Nov. 14 on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki Summit 2019, a business event organized by the Federation of Industries of Greece in the Greek province of Macedonia, whose name was given away to Greece’s neighbor by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.
Mitsotakis opposed the deal but didn’t stand in the way of North Macedonia hoping to begin accession talks for the European Union, which instead were stymied by French President Emmanuel Macron over worries about corruption the protocol for admitting new members.
Mitsotakis also hasn’t moved yet to make North Macedonia force its agricultural and other companies to stop calling their products Macedonian and has backed away from his previous tough stance over the name deal.
It wasn’t reported officially what they would discuss but the status of the name agreement was at the top of the list with Zaev having called for early elections in April, 2020 after blasting the EU for not opening talks as he said should have been done after the deal showed good faith.
Mitsotakis and Zaev met Sept. 24 in New York, on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting. During talks last week Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias assured his North Macedonia counterpart Nikola Dimitrov that Greece wants to see the Balkan country join the EU while also underlining the need for the deal to be honored to the letter even if the New Democracy government hasn’t forced the issue yet.
On Nov. 10 Zaev hosted a Western Balkan countries summit, in Ohrid, North Macedonia, in which leaders committed to a plan of free movement of people and goods among their countries said his focus is getting into the EU.
“There is no sustainable alternative for this goal,” a joint press statement released after the meeting said, reported Kathimerini.