Greece a pioneer of Western Balkans’ EU accession

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will have meetings with the prime minister and foreign minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev and Nikola Dimitrov, respectively, on Friday in Geneva. Dendias will be in Geneva to participate in the World Economic Forum, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Alexandros Gennimatas.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will have meetings with the prime minister and foreign minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev and Nikola Dimitrov, respectively, on Friday in Geneva.
Dendias will be in Geneva to participate in the World Economic Forum, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Alexandros Gennimatas.
“We have always supported the Western Balkans’ European course,” Gennimatas said, adding: “Ever since 2003 and the Thessaloniki Summit, Greece has been a pioneer of this prospect and course. The discussion will focus on how to continue the reforms and how Greece can support the implementation of these reforms. Beyond that, regarding the Prespes Agreement, our positions on this – on how the agreement can be met properly and without any deviations or departures – are known.”
Greece is currently deliberating on this issue with its partners, said Gennimatas, but it is also evaluating the next steps in the accession process, which must be careful.
“Greece has an active role to play in the region and will continue in this direction,” he said, adding that “any intiative announced must be determined based on achieving the highest probabilities for progress. We can’t expect that the positions of significant EU member-states will change overnight. What we must do is work so that the conditions allow a relatively rapid progress in the desired direction.”
On the committees for making the changes required under the Prespes Agreement, Gennimatas said that the committee for the books is expected to be formed very soon while, with respect to brand names, he pointed out the need to support the name of “the authentic and original Macedonia” and “win the communications game” on a global level. “What is important for Greece is the implementation of the agreement to continue smoothly,” he added.
On Dendias’ visit to Moscow and his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the foreign ministry representative said that the visit was considered a success. “We believe that the goals of the visit have been achieved and that it was a signal for the start of a new chapter of close bilateral relations between Greece and Russia”.
“The effort for a thaw in our relations has, for us, a two-fold target. On the one hand, the promotion of our bilateral relations over a wide range of issues, and on the basis of existing treaties, and on the other hand to establish closer cooperation and mutual understanding with respect to international and regional issues.”
On the recognition of autocephaly for the Ukranian Church, which was discussed at the Dendias-Lavrov meeting, Gennimatas underlined the distinct roles of the Church and State and explained that both sides agreed that the issue will not be a hurdle for the further deepening of Greek-Russian relations.
Outlining the foreign minister’s programme in the coming week, the ministry’s spokesperson said that Dendias will receive China’s President Xi Jinping when the latter visits Greece on Sunday, November 10, as well as attending broader talks with the Chinese president to be held on Monday with President of Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
On Wednesday, November 13, Dendias is to meet with a Saudi Arabian government official in Athens and on Thursday he is due in Belgrade for a meeting with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic and Serb Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, as well as Greek enterpreneurs with activities in Serbia.