“I have no doubt that the government retains the majority in parliament in all instances or that the Prespes Agreement will be backed by the necessary parliamentary majority,” stated Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio station “Praktoreio 104.9FM” on Wednesday.
“What happened at the cabinet meeting was that the issue of the admittedly different recent statements made by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was raised and a clarification made that he retains his positions on the FYROM issue, as we knew them, but will on no account overthrow the government,” Katrougalos added, referring to the differences voiced by Kammenos and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias concerning the FYROM name issue.
The minister reaffirmed that the Prespes Agreement will not be left in abeyance and expressed his hope that FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will succeed in collecting the votes needed to change FYROM’s constitution and thus pave the way for the implementation of the agreement. “We will not abandon the Prespes Agreement because we believe it is mutually beneficial and believe that it will stabilise the wider region of the Balkans,” he said.
On the refugees issue, Katrougalos said his message in Tuesday’s Council of European Affairs meeting was “that we are essentially discussing the same things” and “making little progress in the last period”. He underlined that “as long as we delay in resolving this matter, which is clearly not a national issue but a European issue, the voices of those that do not love Europe become louder and their xenophobic messages contaminate societies in general.”
Referring to Turkey’s latest actions in the northeastern Mediterranean, Katrougalos noted that “Turkey’s previous attempts to promote its interests, as it perceives them, in a way that is not consistent with international law were wide of the mark and this is also what will happen now.” According to Katrougalos, “the neighbouring country has revisionist traits, namely the attempt to shape international law in accordance with its own perceived interests, in the DNA of its foreign policy”.