The Balkans will always be the Balkans

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 22/10/2018 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

The Balkans will always be the Balkans. So, it was expected that the efforts in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to garner the votes needed to pass in Parliament (or, rather, to start passing) the constitutional amendments needed to apply the much-debated Prespes Agreement with Greece would give rise to suspicions of graft or of yielding to foreign pressures. It is by implementing the Prespes Agreement that the FYRoM accepted to change its name to “Northern Macedonia” and forego any direct or insidious claims to Greece’s own Macedonia and historical past - and thus gain access to NATO and even to start negotiations with the EU.


So the stakes were quite high indeed; equally high was the going price quoted for FYRoM legislators changing sides and vote with the (finally raised) majority of 2/3! Things started to get more curious when most of the innuendoes/or even of straightforward accusations - towards FYRoM legislators - emanated from Greece. Where there is an equally vocal opposition to the Prespes Treaty that is thought to relinquish historical rights of Greece to its smaller neighbour. To make things even less understandable  to an outsider, the minor partner to the current Government of Greece, the very Government that has negotiated the Prespes Treaty, was the source of the most vitriolic allegations of graft and influence- peddling (on part of the US, Germany and the rest of the West) to sway the M.Ps of FYRoM. Then, to make things totally Balkan, in a row pitting the leader of that party against the Foreign Minister of Greece (who was the negotiator-in-chief of the Prespes Treaty), the latter lost out and was dumped from office. His successor in the F.M. portfolio was the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras - who declared his wholehearted support to the Treaty put in place by the man he had just dumped amidst further allegations of Greek funds financing the vote-tally in FYRoM...


One cannot but wonder what will happen when the ball is passed to the Greek court, i.e. when a sliver-thin majority would have to be mustered at Greek Parliament so as to support that same Prespes Treaty. To be noted: the main Opposition party in Greece is also strongly opposed to the Treaty, in almost the same vigorous way the minor Coalition Government party we just mentioned.


But, then again, the Balkans will be the Balkans.


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