Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said he, along with his Greek collegue, Alexis Tsipras discussed on a decision about the name dispute that will be acceptable to both sides. His speech was made at a press conference in the EU-Western Balkans Summit today in Sofia.

“During today’s meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece, a friend of Macedonia, Alexis Tsipras, we agreed on the progress we have with regard to finding a solution for our country’s name. Together with Alexis Tsipras, we are looking for opportunities for decisions that the Macedonian side has presented in the last phase of the negotiations,” Zyev said. In his words, the consultations will continue between the two countries.

Zaev said he also discussed the issue with France’s President Emmanuel Makron and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In his words, they have recognised “the leadership that Macedonia has demonstrated” and pledged help to strengthen relations between us and the EU.

Support was also expressed by the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Sweden and Estonia, with which Zyev has also talked today.

“Their message contained a confirmation of our prospects… For Macedonia, EU membership means economic growth, connectivity and equal opportunities for young people in Macedonia on an equal footing with their peers in the EU,” the Macedonian Prime Minister said.

Zaev expressed hope that, ahead of the European leaders’ meeting in June, there will be a solution, but stressed that this depends on many factors. Even if there is no solution then, the efforts will continue, the Prime Minister said. “We have looked at a few options and one of them is a solution acceptable to both sides. We are continuing consultations at home. If possible, we will probably have a solution”, Zaev stressed during the press conference in NDK.

Macedonia’s attempts to join NATO and the EU are blocked by Greece, according to which Macedonia’s name contains territorial claims towards the northern Greek province with the same name. The two Prime Ministers found the progress made during the negotiation process of finding a solution for the name. There are possible options for “creative solutions” which the Macedonian side has presented in the final phase of the negotiations.