SI welcomes agreement signed yesterday by Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

18 June 2018

The parties belonging to the socialist family are committed to peace and cooperation among the peoples and the countries of the Balkans.

The parties of democratic socialism have a decisive role to play in these turbulent times. We oppose extreme right wing and demagogic forces that are bent on undermining democratic achievements and pluralistic societies. We oppose their authoritarian rhetoric and actions which threaten the basic democratic guarantees for every citizen, for their rights and the free expression of citizens’ voices. We oppose their attempts to divide through extreme nationalism, xenophobia and hate speech.

The peaceful resolution of pending conflicts through mutually agreed solutions is a one way street if we want to establish stability, security, rule of law and sustainable growth in the Balkan region.

For these reasons we have followed the spirit and the principles of the Agenda for the Western Balkans adopted at the European Council in Thessaloniki in 2003 which gave an effective perspective for the accession of the countries of that region to the EU once the relevant criteria are met.

In this spirit, we welcome the decision of Athens and Skopje to end the pending issue of the constitutional name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia through an agreement reached under the auspices of the United Nations.

Despite whatever difficulties, this breakthrough will extensively enhance regional and citizens cooperation and open up new possibilities for the development of infrastructure, innovative investment, sustainable development, trade and tourism in a time of economic crisis.

In this context,

We wish the government of Zoran Zaev success in completing the necessary steps that will enable the implementation of this agreement.

We encourage all progressive political forces to stand in solidarity with this effort for growth and stability in the Balkan region.

We call on the progressive citizens of both countries to actively fight divisive rhetoric and polarization.

This moment signals a major chance for a secure and peaceful future for all. This opportunity should not be missed.