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After the Bulgarian veto, another blow for Macedonia: Greece freezes the Prespa agreement

After the Bulgarian veto, another blow for Macedonia: Greece freezes the Prespa

Following the postponement of the negotiations by the European Union, Greece today gave another blow to Northern Macedonia, freezing the Prespa agreement.

The pact, which was signed by former Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras and Zoran Zaev on the shores of Lake Prespa in 2018, ended Athens' blockade of Skopje membership and led to a change in the neighboring country's name.

But Greece on Tuesday urged the prime minister of northern Macedonia to fully implement the Prespa agreement, including international sporting events. Also, the Greek newspaper "Ekathimerini" reports that Athens is postponing the planned parliamentary ratification in July of three memoranda of cooperation signed between the two countries until September and possibly later.

Athens responded harshly to a post by Zoran Zaev in which the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia referred to his country's national football team, which is participating in the 2020 European Championship, as "Macedonians".

"We demand the full implementation of the Prespa Agreement and its spirit, and we urge Mr Zaev to refrain from divisive rhetoric, especially on such a sensitive issue as football," said government spokeswoman Aristotle Peloni.

"In any case, the conscientious implementation of the agreement is one of the criteria for the country 's accession to the European Union," she noted. "Ignore them", the newspaper writes. The decision comes just hours after Bulgaria vetoed northern Macedonia over historic disputes, automatically blocking negotiations with Albania.

Another indicator of the government's strengthening stance on Northern Macedonia's violations of the name deal was Pelon's decision to remind reporters of the opposition New Democracy ruling party's objections to the Prespa agreement.

More specifically, she said the main objections of the ruling party are over language and identity issues.

The government had made clear its intention that it wanted to implement the agreement despite initial opposition to it. "On the other hand, it is also making it clear that it will not turn a blind eye to the signals coming from Skopje not to fully implement the agreement, " Ekathimerini wrote .

Participating in Monday's match between Northern Macedonia and the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Zaev wrote on Twitter: "Today, from the stadium in Amsterdam, I offer my strong support to the Macedonian football team."

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