A German newspaper has set the Greek political landscape on fire after it revealed that a close aide of leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis from conservative New Democracy had two secret meetings with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. MEP Maria Spyraki and ND spokesperson reportedly met with Zaef in December 2017 and in first half of 2018 in what is described as “secret meetings.”
“If Tsipras loses the elections next year, as it is expected to happen, the window of opportunity is in danger of reopening, because then, the conservative-nationalist party of New Democracy will probably become a stronger political force. Leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is a liberal but seeks the favor of his party’s right wing, and for this reason accepts nationalist positions on the issue of Macedonia.” FAZ writes among others.
Citing Zoran Zaev, the FAΖ notes further that “Mitsotakis sent his trustee, MEP Maria Spyraki in December 2017, to inform him about the position of the Greek conservatives to resolve the dispute over the Macedonia name.”
In a meeting of FYROM Prime Minister with the country’s political leaders on May 19, 2018, Zaev informed them that he had one more meeting with Spyraki in Brussels.
“In this meeting Zaev said that Mitsorakis spokesperson conveyed his greeting to him and described the difficult position the ND is” with regards the Macedonia issue as “it is concerned about a part of its voters.”
FAZ cites a 19-page “strictly confidential” FYROM report.
The revelation triggered strong reaction not only among other political parties and the government but also inside the New Democracy.
MEP Spyraki told several Greek media on Tuesday that the meeting with Zaev in December was not planned and took place while she was going to get a coffee while she was in Brussels. She said it was a public meeting and she told Zaev who asked about ND’s position on the agreement that New Democracy did not support the compromise agreement. She denied that there was a second meeting.
The Prime Minister’s office demanded a thorough explanation on the issue and so did Movement of Change(PASOK).
In a lengthy statement the Prime Minister’s office accuses ND leader of “hypocrisy, cowardliness and national irresponsibility.”
“At times when he was accusing the government of secrete diplomacy, his spokesperson was secretly meeting in Zaev,” the statement notes.
“While he [Mitsotakis] was playing the Macedonia-fighter inside the country, his spokesperson was explaining to Zaev that ND’s objection to the Agrement was pretentious and had to do with his commitments to his far-right wing within his party,” the statement adds among others.
In a statement Movement of Change urged Mitsotakis to confirm or dismiss “international media reports that Spyraki told Zaev that ND was ready to support a solution [on the name issue] only if also [ANEL leader Panos] Kammenos would support it.”
“The meeting should have been made known,” veteran ND lawmaker Nikitas Kaklamanis said adding “It is not bad to have such a meeting.”