Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Who got excited from the memorandum of understanding?

Twenty years since the current head of the Greek opposition destroyed the possible agreement on the name dispute and the Greek government at the time, and five years after Samaras became the prime minister after he headed the government in January, Nea Democratia publicly highlights the name dispute. What is behind the insisting of the diplomatic strategist Samaras the name dispute, along with Turkey and Cyprus, to become a priority in Greece's foreign policy?

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Columnist: Goran Momiroski

Does Koumoutsakos and his boss know something that we don’t know, so now they are trying to join the process that can mean an end of the enmity between the governments in Athens and Skopje, or it’s about another hidden game of Samaras where SYRIZA should be brought on the slippery terrain of the name dispute and defeated by the old nationalist tricks of the leader of Nea Democratia?

According to Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the MP candidate of the opposition, who began his career as a spokesman of the Foreign Minister during the time of Karamanlis, Dora Bakoyannis, it’s time to find a solution to the name dispute. The former MEP and now the man who sets the diplomatic agenda of Nea Democratia, made the remarks at a campaign event in Athens. Unlike previous election campaigns when the current opposition used the name dispute just for showing how adamant the party is or in order to attack someone that is “soft to the Skopje issue” now Koumoutsakos, who is head of foreign policy of Nea Democratia, put the name in a serious context and spoke about the priorities of the Greek diplomacy and the ways in which his party would be running the Greek foreign policy if he were to come to power after the elections on 20 September. However, one should not be naive to think that anything dramatically has changed in the Greek right wing, which could have obtain a friendly country on its northern border with moderate policies even since the early nineties of the last century.

Past experience shows that someone or some processes drove Samaras to put the name dispute in a serious packing, instead of using it just for cheap populism. Could it be, perhaps, about pressure from the US, Germany or some other factor or he is fearing that Prime Minister Tsipras could easily close the name dispute after the implementation of the memorandum of understanding proposed by Minister Kotzias? No secrets can be standing in the background, but in any case it is good that Samaras admits that the name dispute must be resolved, although only during the campaign.

Money and geopolitics can change the situation

Some analysts do not exclude the possibility that Russian business and political structures directly influence the series of decisions in Greek politics, which starting from the interests of the Kremlin are trying to settle down or heat tensions in certain regions of the globe. In this context, we cannot fully exclude the effects of the speculations about the construction of the “Turkish Stream”pipeline on the diplomatic steps , which if passing through Macedonia and proceeding to Serbia, Hungary, it will bring billions to Greece. An amount that for each political party in Greece is much more useful than the irrational name dispute. Just as the vague announcements of China and Serbia about building a high-speed railways and implementing the Danube – Morava – Vardar – Thermaic Gulf project sometimes soften the hearts of “the guardians of the red lines on the name issue”. Keeping an open corridor for refugees to Macedonia is another potential reason for sending false signals about the good neighbourly relations between Greece and Macedonia. Macedonia should not be afraid of these signals, regardless of the Greek authority they are coming from, even if it’s the hard-line nationalist Samaras. If there is sincere and confirmed desire to resolve the dispute, whereby both sides will preserve the dignity and their national interests, then Macedonia should negotiate with everyone, even with people that in the past 25 years have been the cause of historical injustice and because of whom Macedonia is still not a member of NATO and the EU.