First Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Radmila Šekerinska, in an interview with Skopje’s TV channel Telma, said the failure to resolve the naming problem has devastating consequences for FYROM, but Greece is affected as well, since he noted that greek investments in FYROM and trade relations between the two countries have shrunk in recent years.
“Essentially, Greece does not lose anything special from not resolving the naming problem, so it can behave in this way. On the other hand, if you analyze what has been happening for the past 10 years, you will see that the ‘freezing’ of the issue and the 2008 hindrance was not positive for Greece either. Just see the numbers of their investments, see the numbers of the trade. Greece missed the opportunity to be one of the strongest players in FYROM (“Macedonia” in the interview), and through FYROM across the region. See how difficult it was during the refugee crisis to have elementary communication between the institutions of the two countries. To sum up, this was a disaster for FYROM, but also adverse effects for Greece”, noted Sekerinska, who after Zaev, has the most important say in the policies followed by the government.
There is no imminent removal of statues from the center of Skopje
In addition, Sekerinska said there was no imminent removal of the statues of Alexander the Great and Philip II, which were placed in the center of Skopje by the governments of Nikola Gruevski, and suggested that their possible removal would be part of the negotiation with Greece, on the name issue.
In particular, to the question whether the FYROM government is ready to make a move of goodwill towards Greece by removing statues or renaming Skopje’s airport, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
“Perhaps it would be wrong if we make early moves that are not part of a process. Because FYROM can make them and not have a positive effect… I think the agreement with Bulgaria is a good indication of what our approach will be. A solution must be found, but a solution that will be good for both FYROM and Greece. We know that this solution, neither here nor there, will be considered ideal, but if it strengthens the two countries, if it offers open doors to FYROM, it will prove to be the right move at the right time, as was the agreement with Bulgaria. You know our view, as a party, on VMRO-DPMNE’s position towards the city of Skopje and in relation to our past. I do not want to waste words on that”.