Dr. Ioannis Armakolas, Assistant Professor at the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia and Head of the South-East Europe Programme at ELIAMEP, was recently interviewed by Noni Karagianni on the radio show “Αθήνα Σήμερα (Athina 9.84).

Following the meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias with his European counterparts on the topic of the enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans, Armakolas examined the latest corresponding developments in the region. He particularly discussed the French veto and the momentarily frozen negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

“Prime Minister Mitsotakis, in his Financial Times interview, made a very important argument that has not been heard in the past, particularly from Greek politicians and is a very good, very useful argument that Greek diplomacy could employ more. He said that while Greece was not ready when it joined the EEC, the Western European countries and Paris acted generously and considered geopolitics. Greece should not be left out of Europe at a time when it was trying to stabilize its democracy and it was through accession that it managed to remain on the path of growth and democratization. This is a very useful argument,” argued Armakolas. 

Armakolas also explained that “the gradual integration of the Western Balkans in Europe means that these states would enter an environment of security, development and resolving issues with their neighbors in a co-operative sense and go beyond the sphere of geopolitical conflict in which Russia, China and Turkey are involved. Why shouldn’t we want all these states to step out of the sphere of influence of Turkey, Russia and China and be within the EU, so we can work closely together to resolve our differences? 

You can listen to the whole interview in Greek here.