Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis notably decided to launch his campaign to promote the brand Macedonia as Greek ownership during the Solun/Thessaloniki summit where he invited the outgoing Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov.
In his remarks, Mitsotakis said that he will work to keep the European doors open for the Balkans, on a number of preconditions, and will work to correct the mistakes made with the Prespa treaty Zaev signed with his predecessor Alexis Tsipras. A big part of Mitsotakis’ plan to “correct the mistakes” is to launch an international push to label Macedonia as Greek. Mitsotakis promoted the campaign “Macedonia is GReat”, which is meant to present Macedonian food, wine and tourism as Greek. Mitsotakis called on “dear Zoran” to show maturity and realism as the two countries work to reduce the “negative consequences” from the Prespa treaty, which Mitsotakis opposed.
Mitsotakis sweetened the blow by promising that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will invite the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Albania to Brussels, at the next European Council. Greece nominally respects its obligation under the Prespa treaty and supported the opening of accession talks with Macedonia, but is much more reserved toward Albania, and at the same time is opposed to decoupling Macedonia from Albania. Ultimately it was mostly under French opposition that the European Council kept the two countries in a group and denied their request to open EU accession talks, which turned into a major blow for Zaev who was forced to allow early general elections.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov, on the other hand, expressed concern about the divisions created in Macedonia by the Prespa treaty and the treaty Zaev signed with Bulgaria, which he fears will not be permanent. “Zaev performed miracles, but we must be sure that other political parties in the country think the same way”, Borisov said. He is hoping that he will secure further concessions from Zaev in the direction of declaring chunks of Macedonian history or Macedonian heroes as Bulgarian.