A new name for Skopje that would also be used inside the former Yugoslav republic has been ruled out by the country’s premier, Zoran Zaev.
In comments reported by the MIA news agency, Zaev appeared to reject Greek calls that an alternative name be used ‘erga omnes’ (towards all) — in other words, at home and abroad.
Zaev also said there would be no need to change the country’s constitution as its internal domestic nomenclature had no impact on Greece.
Athens has repeatedly called for changes in FYROM’s constitution to remove articles considered irredentist towards Greek territory.
Zaev also refused to rule out a referendum on a name change to be put to the public. He said the timing of such a vote could depend on whether Skopje has been nominated for EU and NATO membership — two things currently blocked by a Greek veto.
Last Wednesday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias called for “realism, pragmatism and the realization that we have to make compromises” in the name dispute with Skopje.
However, he also dismissed what he called “rotten compromises”.
Kotzias on Thursday met FYROM foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov during a round of visits to western Balkan countries.
Speaking to reporters in Ohrid, Kotzias said: “As you understand, the closer we come to solving all our issues, there are less and less issues left to talk about.
“But, they are the most difficult. We have made the positive steps that we have been able to do today and we always hope – both of us – to be able to do the big ones.”
“We try to solve problems created by other seasons and by others. But this is the job of diplomacy,” he added
Zaev himself narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in parliament called by opposition lawmakers last week.