Greece suspends financial aid to FYROM

Greece on Wednesday announced that it was suspending economic assistance to the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) via the foreign ministry’s ambitious Balkan reconstruction aid programme.

During a meeting of Parliament’s standing committee on foreign affairs and defence, which debated a relevant draft bill, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis said the Skopje government had responded as “Republic of Macedonia” to correspondence sent by the Greek foreign ministry to all beneficiary countries. Athens queried partnership countries on whether they agree with an extension of the programme to 2011, but without changes to the sums earmarked for individual countries and projects.

“Because Greece does not recognise any country with that name (i.e. ‘Republic of Macedonia’), it considers that letter as not having been received, and has therefore excluded Skopje from the programme,” Kassimis said.

Consequently, a relevant draft bill — extending the programme for a further five years — will be presented to Parliament for ratification without containing a provision for FYROM.

Greece’s initial Balkan Reconstruction Plan covered the years 2002-2006.

The programme contains a credit line of 550 million euros for various reconstruction projects in Balkan countries, with recipients including Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Kosovo province, Montenegro, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Approved credits for FYROM during the period 2002-2006 totalled approximately 75 million euros.

Source: ANA-MPA

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