Wolfgang Petrich: Athens has the main responsibility for not solving the name issue

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It is clear that Athens bears тхе primary responsibility for not solving the name issue, and there Iwould clearly say, said Austrian diplomat and negotiator Wolfgang Petrich in the interview with Al Jazeera Balkans.


In the show “Tell Al Jazeera,” the former senior official of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo negotiator and current president of the Austrian Foundation “Marshall Plan” talked with journalist Sasha Delikj and among other things, for the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, relations between Serbia and Kosovo and for the name of Macedonia.

Asked what he thinks about the European Union not being able to resolve this issue, given the fact that Macedonia has candidate status for nine years, Petrich said he has pessimistic view on this situation.

– Obviously, as smaller the real problem is, the challenge is greater. Can’t they sit down and agree on the name of the country, hoe they call themselves and why neighboring country disagrees with that name? Look at the situation. Greece is in the European Union, Greece is in NATO. Who in Greece can be afraid of Macedonia, country of two million people?, said Petrich.

According to him, “the problem is abuse of history, politics of identity that is so emotional that has nothing to do with reality.”

– And that considerably influence the policy than the economics. It is paradox as Greece is the biggest investor in Macedonia, and on that simple level, finding a compromise, there is no progress, said the Austrian diplomat.

He stressed that it is clear that Athens bears primary responsibility and added that he would say this there too.

– Of course, there is the responsibility of the European Union. There is one party that deliberately weakens the overall security environment in the region, says Petrich.

He said “of course now, after so many years, Macedonian politics goes in strange direction building the monuments. According to him, “neither Greek, nor Macedonian claims are not complete truth that ones are Macedonians and others are not.”

– Because after two thousand years there is no chance to be able to claim it. The nationalism is a phenomenon occurring in the 19th century, not in ancient times, says Petrich.

Regarding the overall situation in the Western Balkans, he recently revealed that he had meeting with State Department officials who said they were still interested in what happens in the Western Balkans but that, they have much larger problems to be solved and that they have to face with.

– Europe generally has the same attitude, but Mrs. Merkel realized that if the EU does not help in resolving all outstanding issues in the Western Balkans, the European Union would not have the global role when it comes to the Middle East, and even the crisis in Ukraine, where Europeans are directly facing huge challenge, Petrich said.

Asked whether he sees Serbia as a member of the European Union by 2020, as predicted by some Serbian politicians, he said it is “a bit too optimistic.”

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