Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated a firm stance towards the new leadership of Greece’s northern neighbor, North Macedonia, during an interview on Wednesday with a local Athens-based television station. His statements came just more than a week after the recently sworn-in president and the incoming prime minister of North Macedonia notably omitted the “North” part, as mandated by the Prespa Agreement, from the land-locked country’s name.

Mitsotakis urged adherence to signed and ratified international agreements and emphasized the importance of compliance, speaking during the interview.

In a clear breach of the 2018 Prespa Agreement, newly elected North Macedonia President Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova and Prime Minister-designate Hristijan Mickoski asserted their “constitutional right” to refer to their country simply as “Macedonia” – the stand-alone term – in remarks addressed to the country’s citizens, as they said.

Stressing Athens’ unwavering stance on the apparently rekindled “name issue”, Mitsotakis asserted that “the country’s name is North Macedonia, and those persisting with ‘Republic of Macedonia’ will face our opposition.”

Against the backdrop of a sudden souring in relations caused by the one-time Yugoslav republic’s new leadership, Mitsotakis emphasized: “Our counterparts in North Macedonia must recognize that the campaign period has concluded. It’s time for earnestness, adherence to international treaties, especially for those aspiring to maintain the European trajectory.”

Anticipating considerable diplomatic pressure on the leadership in North Macedonia, he stated that “Greece stands alongside allies, backed by the EU and the United States. While Greece isn’t isolated, Skopje finds itself increasingly so. Ultimately, they’ll grasp the futility of their current policy and yield to mounting pressures.”

The latest snub vis-a-vis the main provision of the Prespa Agreement appeared in Siljanovska-Davkova’s official social media accounts and, in fact, on the official site of the presidency of North Macedonia, where no reference to the country is made, i.e. no “North Macedonia” or even the stand-alone and unsanctioned “Macedonia”.