Both the cosmos and the whole universe are Greek

Both the cosmos and the whole universe are Greek
Erol Rizaov

The statement by the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias: "Even if there is no agreement, it will not be our fault, the whole universe knows that" caused shock in Macedonia. These words expressed in the most delicate phase of the negotiations between Greece and Macedonia on the conditions that need to be fulfilled to remove the Greek ultimatum on the road to the EU and NATO to Macedonia, confirm that as D-Day approaches, not only do Greek attitudes become harder and inflexible, but the concentration shifts to the key Byzantine doctrine - Greece is by no means guilty of the collapse of the negotiations. The cosmos knows this in advance, because it is Greek too.

According to the interpretation of Minister Kotzias, the ancient Greek word "cosmos" denotes the ownership of the universe, when the universe along with all planets and stars, galaxies and all forms of matter and energy, when all atoms, neutrons and protons are Greek, then there is no need for negotiations, but only the veracity of the dynasty given to them by the gods of Hellas and the Hellenes. Following such a statement that reveals that the whole universe knows which side will take the blame for failure, the "other side" has nothing left to do but accept everything that the "first party" requires, because it is the judge of space justice. At the same time, Minister Kotzias' concern for the fate of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is very touching. He says the name change should be implemented for internal use through constitutional changes because the next government will send Zaev to prison under the accusation that he has violated the constitution, because it does not provide an international name for the country.

I do not know whether Prime Minister Zaev thanked Minister Kotzias for such care, but prevails over the general impression that Greece does not want any kind of compromise. More precisely, as Macedonia is receiving stronger signals of leniency with statements of compromise and mutually acceptable solutions, such as the consent for a geographical addition to the name, as well as the possibility of constitutional changes on the day of Macedonia's accession to the EU (which was announced by Zaev), the Greek side interprets them as provocations and harmful to the negotiations. It confirms in practice that the Greek way of negotiation is in full use this time, which means that all concessions proposed by the second party (Macedonia) should be accepted immediately, and then start from the beginning with fresh negotiations and new conditions.

All involved in the negotiations, but also a huge part of the public in both countries, know that the solutions dictated by Greece, even if they were fully accepted, are unsustainable. There are no such guarantees, neither international, nor constitutional erga omnes, who can take away their identity and the language of the citizens of one country. If this did not happen in the past centuries of wars and centuries of rule with Rumelia and Thrace, it is very unlikely it will happen now. The game to now find a solution, and to blame the weaker side that is under dread international pressure, it is already clearly obvious and confirmed by the fact that in Greece it was calculated that they will not pass in the Macedonian Parliament and in the Macedonian public the proposals for erga omnes with constitutional changes to use the new name, both at home and in the world. It is the doctrine to not come to a solution, but to blame Macedonia.

The answer came from Prime Minister Zoran Zaev - that if a solution is not found, it is not the end of the world, Plan B comes into force, and that is to bring Europe to Macedonia. This could be achieved by resolutely implementing the reforms. Very few believe in this, although it sounds good, because for such a solution, Macedonia has had more than three decades. In this period of 27 years, political, intellectual and business elites managed to reach only candidacy with conditional invitations from Brussels for negotiations with the EU and for NATO membership, but only after a successful agreement with Greece. The EU never pointed out more specifically and publicly what constitutes a compromise solution acceptable and sustainable for both sides.

Negotiations, without respect for international law with lesser or greater intensity, have lasted for 25 years. There is no solution. Now, when it appears to be very close to compromise, the chief negotiator from Greece, Minister Kotzias announced who will be the culprit for a possible failure if all Greek red lines are not accepted. In Macedonia, no one knows the compromise on Greece’s side, whether the slightest concession that concerns Greece has been made.

In Macedonia, after the interim agreement was concluded, more sensitive concessions were made. Changing the flag, supplementing the constitution where Greece recognizes irredentism, even though in its constitution there are identical and even more specific provisions for its minorities in neighboring countries. And now Macedonia is ready to emphasize the uniqueness of the Greek part with a geographical addition to its name, ready to remove everything that Greece considers an irredentist danger, even in textbooks, although it is quite clear that Macedonia does not represent such a danger to any of its neighbors, especially not to the powerful Greece, a member of NATO and the EU. After all this, Greece sets the conditions that Macedonia cannot fulfill. Obviously, without the more resolute participation of America and powerful European countries and leaders, this problem remains unsolvable. The denial of America and Europe from strategic interests for this part of the Balkans and Europe where Macedonia belongs will indicate that either the estimates for the strategic interests of the EU and the US were wrong, or that Greece is more important than those interests, which is why it is difficult to find a mutually acceptable solution with a compromise on both sides.

And then there is another, third possibility - that, in this penultimate round of negotiations, Minister Kotzias makes an attempt for a space mission, which will give a better position to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who, along with Zoran Zaev, will have to cut the Gordian knot. It would have been the most desirable end of a three-decade odyssey, which will resemble the great hope of their first encounter. An event that will open a new era, not only in the relations between the two countries, but on the entire Balkan Peninsula. Well, that would be cosmic news for the entire universe, that Greece and Macedonia finally reached an agreement. Until this happens, it's hard to believe it. Hope dies last.

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