Gruevski rejects irredentism, refers to name issue in “To Vima” interview

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VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski refers to a number of issues of current interest in an interview with Greek newspaper “To Vima”.

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Regarding allegations that the Government abused its power, no rule of law and media freedom, which has led to a political agreement and early elections, Gruevski says his party has won all elections over the past nine years due to its program.

“The support we get is a result of our accountability, projects we promised and realized. Over the past nine years, Macedonia has continually made progress. We have received consecutive European Commission recommendations for the start of accession talks, met all criteria for NATO membership, became the 12. best doing business destination in the world…Would all these reforms be possible if there was no rule of law? Would we be criticized in media if there was no freedom of speech? Macedonia has been plunged into a deep crisis because of SDSM’s destructive policy. Therefore, it is good that parties have reached an agreement, but it is important to implement it through the April 24 elections, thus putting an end to the crisis”, says Gruevski.

He voices certainty that his party will again win the elections and continue to implement reforms.

Gruevski says the name issue is an absurd issue that blocks Macedonia’s integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions and touches upon the people’s identity.

“We are seriously interested in overcoming the current state, but not at the price of our identity. I expect the implementation of the recently agreed confidence-building measures. I have a feeling your public is not properly or sufficiently informed on the situation in Macedonia. This creates obstacles for your politicians to reach bold decisions. We should overcome mutual stereotypes and look at the things that bring us closer. The belief that a new identity of the Macedonian people will be imposed by force or blackmail is not the right one”, he adds.

According to him, the belief that Macedonia represents a threat to Greece is totally untrue.

“The claim there is a confusion of geographical terms such as the Republic of Macedonia and your regions is also false. There are many examples in Europe that prove the opposite, for example there is a region called Luxembourg in Belgium. But, we have gone into much detail. VMRO-DPMNE will not accept proposals that would endanger the Macedonian people and the Macedonian national identity, nation, language and culture. Any amendments in the constitution that change Macedonia’s constitutional name are unacceptable. We are prepared to resume dialogue and remain committed to the integration process. We want a solution to the problem not only because of the NATO and EU accession, but also for the purpose of normalizing relations with Greece”, says Gruevski.

He rejects Athens’ belief that Macedonia has irredentist pretensions, saying the future lies in cooperation among countries.

“We cannot change the past, but we can influence the future. This can be done through sincere cooperation and mutual support. I do not believe there is a person in Greece who seriously believes in Macedonia’s irredentism. Claims that Greece, a country of rich culture and enormous significance for the world, a larger and more powerful country, fears from Macedonia, are unconvincing”, stresses Gruevski.

He says the refugee crisis is only one of the issues where bilateral cooperation can improve.

“I am aware that neither Macedonia nor Greece can solve the problem alone. This is a global issue that must be approached in such a way. I assure you that together we can do much more, through cooperation, transparency, and no fears”, underlines Gruevski in the interview.