MEP THALER: MACEDONIA IS RIGHT, WE IN BRUSSELS KNOW THAT
European Parliament rapporteur on Macedonia Zoran Thaler urged Thursday Macedonian politicians to be pragmatic, proactive in regard to the name row with Greece. He also called for 'smart solutions to the incredible dispute'.
- You are and will remain Macedonians even if a new, artificial name is to be invented. You are what you feel that you are. You are right and we in Brussels know that. This is a schizophrenic situation politicians should resolve. Unfortunately the one that is part of the EU is more right, Thaler said in his lecture on Macedonia's EU Integration - the Name Issue, organized within the 13. Education and Career Days.
The name row settlement is necessary for unblocking Macedonia's EU integration process, as Skopje has been paying the price for the stalemate, Thaler said.
Maybe politicians, who decided to participate in the name row settlement, would be labelled as traitors at the beginning, but taking into consideration Slovenia's experience with a compromise that allowed the country to join EU, such unpleasant reactions had been voiced for six months only, Thaler said.
He praised the decision of EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele to take active part in settling the name dispute.
- Your country is the door for the Western Balkan EU membership. Therefore it is good that Fuele has understood that we (EU) must help Macedonia and thus open the door for the Western Balkans, Thaler said.
Thaler believes that Paris, Berlin should join UN mediator Matthew Nimetz's efforts in settling Macedonia-Greece name row, and along with Washington voice their positions on the matter.
- I am trying to encourage for solutions to be embraced in faster pace, hence the attention to be focused on the stability, prosperity of the region, which needs new culture of understanding, empathy, especially from Greece - the oldest EU member from the Balkan region, Thaler said.
Greece may play a crucial role in the Balkans, which is not the case at the moment. However, the Agenda 2014 of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou promises brighter future, Thaler said.
- EU should tell Greece - we express solidarity to you, but expect you to show solidarity with us, as the Balkans accession to the EU is crucial for Europe's stability, Thaler said.