Apostolos Tzitzikostas, prefect of the Greek province of Central Macedonia which encompasses Solun (Thessaloniki) and much of the area around the port city, has ruled out allowing that road signs with the name “North Macedonia” are put in his province.

According to the Prespa treaty, Macedonian authorities began replacing the Republic of Macedonia signs with signs declaring the country to be the “Republic of North Macedonia”, beginning with the signs on the border crossings with Greece. But Greece is yet to reciprocate, and if Tzitzikostas’ statement holds true, it may not do so, at least for the time being.

Greek authorities have notoriously few signs on the roads in this region which borders the Republic of Macedonia and where there are signs, they usually point the motorists toward “Skopje”, “FYROM” or even the Serbian capital Belgrade or Yugoslavia.

There is no chance that we allow a sign with the words “North Macedonia” to be placed on a road that is under our jurisdiction, Tzitzikostas said.

The prefect comes from the opposition conservative New Democracy party, and he said he will reject any pressure from the leftist central Government of Alexis Tsipras, which signed the treaty and had it narrowly approved in Parliament. Large majorities of people in both countries reject the deal and New Democracy has vowed not to respect other clauses as well – most importantly the obligation that Greece will not block Macedonia’s accession talks with the European Union.