“Everybody knows that [the name dispute] has to be solved in order to give Macedonia a positive economic and European future,” Weber told EURACTIV.com.
Manfred Weber, the Spitzenkandidat of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), ended months of silence on the ongoing efforts to resolve the Greece-Macedonia name row with a couple of pithy comments on Tuesday (9 January) that appear to support the deal.
Weber had not taken a position on the issue for months, despite growing pressure from other political groups in the EU Parliament to do so.
New Democracy, the sister party of the EPP in Greece, and the main opposition party to the governing leftist Syriza party, has vowed to block the deal in parliament.
Asked to comment on New Democracy’s stance on the issue, Weber replied diplomatically that it was the Greek government’s responsibility to negotiate and finalise the deal, implying that no support from the opposition was needed for that.
“Formally, the opposition is not needed to accept a compromise. It is the role of the opposition to show alternatives and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis does not oppose the principle to find a compromise,” Weber said.
In an interview with EURACTIV, Elmar Brok, an influential German Christian-Democrat MEP, said New Democracy had told the EPP that it would accept a “ratified” name change deal.
He added that the issue has been discussed in the EPP. “Therefore, it is also good in these talks, New Democracy declares that it will accept the ratified treaty when it becomes part of a government.”
“New Democracy, when it comes to power, will then accept and implement a ratified treaty. Because New Democracy has not said that if it is ratified it will not accept it,” Brok added.