Saturday, 23 October 2021 | News today: 0

Name without translation not acceptable, Zaev tells Der Spiegel

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev says in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel he expects a solution over the name issue, claims it is not necessary to change the constitution and a possible agreement can be guaranteed by an international treaty, while adding that a name without translation is unacceptable.

PM Zaev says he cannot imagine failure in the name talks.

“I do not want to even think about this. We must solve this dispute because this is the only way to develop further, integrate in the EU and become a country governed by the rule of law. This is good for the region as a whole. Failure is unthinkable, for Macedonia, for the Western Balkans region and the EU,” notes Zaev.

Regarding Greek requirements for constitutional changes, the PM believes this is not necessary.

“I do not see any reason for this, a name change in the constitution is not a dignified requirement. Greece needs a credible partner, not one having no dignity. The constitution could change, but those changes could undergo additional changes. The most important guarantee for Greece is that the solution of the name issue is sustainable. This is done through international treaties that are ratified and valid in international organizations,” says Zaev.

According to him, recent proposals put forward by Greek politicians over a change of the country’s name without any translation are unacceptable.

“I cannot see any reasonable arguments for such a thing. How would that be implemented in practice, to not translate our name? Would we have to force German Chancellor Merkel or US President Trump to name us Severna Makedonija? You cannot find an example of this anywhere in the world,” says Zaev.

He says there will be no similar gestures following the change to the names of the motorway and the Skopje-based airport, but adds that joint committees from both countries will revise history instruction books.

Asked if the German government should take part more actively in the name talks, the PM says both Macedonia and Greece need support and encouragement.

“However, neither side should be put under pressure, this is not the right way. No one can take away our independent and sovereign decision in the name row,” adds Zaev.

Regarding possible territorial aspirations, Zaev says Macedonia’s pretensions only focus on Greek beaches.

“Yes, we like to occupy the beautiful Greek beaches and islands in the summer. More than one million Macedonians travel to Greece every year, we spend our money there, we love the country and there is communication among businessmen and tourists. We intend nothing else,” underlines Zaev in the interview.