Greek leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday said his “meaningful” meeting with FYROM premier Zoran Zaev on Thursday had gone some way to ending the name dispute but added “there is still much to be done”.
Tsipras was tweeting after he met Zaev on the sidelines of an EU-Western Balkans summit in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.
“I believe that we have covered a large part of the distance but there is more to cross. It is a difficult procedure and we are examining step by step all of the details, but we are not in a position to be talking about an agreement,” said Tsipras.
“You either agree on everything or don’t agree on anything. We are looking for solutions, without crossing any red lines,” the Greek prime minister concluded.
Earlier, Zaev told reporters the two men had discussed one specific solution to the impasse over the former Yugoslav republic’s name.
He said teams from both countries were working on a roadmap which would see a deal before an EU summit in June.
Earlier reports have speculated that immediate NATO membership plus EU accession steps could be offered to Skopje if a deal about the country’s name is struck with Greece.
Currently, the door is closed to Skopje’s membership of both bodies over its use of the name ‘Macedonia’ and claims in its constitution which Greece says are irredentist.
There is also a further complication over whether a new name for the state will be ‘erga omnes’ (‘towards all), that is, used both domestically and internationally.