Despite efforts by both the Greek and FYROM governments to downplay the gravity of the statements made by FYROM PM Zoran Zaev, who claimed in parliament that teaching the “Macedonian language” in Greece could be a possibility deriving from the Prespes Agreement, the video of his address appears to be more provocative than what initially thought. His statements only reinforce fears expressed by those cautious and opposed to the deal that FYROM would use it to demand more from Greece.
Responding to far-right nationalist MPs of the VMRO party, Mr Zaev said: “You talk about the Macedonians in Greece with such passion and that’s wonderful. Let us ask ourselves what we have been doing for them for 27 years. Let’s be honest, did we do anything for them? To resolve this problem we had for 27 years, that was a burden on our shoulders.”
“Now we have a better chance, now we have opportunities for children in Greece to learn the ‘Macedonian’ language, which had been banned until now, it was a taboo issue. The Greek language is already taught in ‘Macedonia’. We have an opportunity to truly help them remove the borders”, said Zoran Zaev.
His statements in effect leave little doubt as to the real intentions and beliefs of FYROM, as he claims there is a “Macedonian” ethnic minority in Greece, which none of the governments had nothing for over the past 27 years.
His clear statements are a slap in the face of the Greek government and PM Alexis Tsipras, who had touted the Prespes Agreement as the deal that resolved the dispute with FYROM and would put an end to the irredentist aspirations of FYROM against Greek national territory.