Alexis Tsipras wants a solution to the FYROM name issue, in order to link his term as prime minister with resolving a matter that has been a "thorn" for Athens for decades.
From the moment that there is a similar mood in Skopje, and beyond the Atlantic, American concern about expanding Russian influence in the Balkans are pressuring FYROM more forcefully into joining NATO, the chances for a happy ending and a jointly acceptable name by June are increasing.
A factor that acts as a multiplier is also the attitude of the Greek political parties. This time, most parties accept the "Bucharest line" as a point of convergence, and it is estimated that most will accept the complex name designation with a geographical definition for use in all circumstances.
The government appears certain (despite statements by paty leader Panos Kammenos) that the ANEL party will find a way not to stand in the way and that main opposition New Democracy will eventually be forced to support such a solution. The rhetoric of Vasilis Leventis does not seem to worry the PM\s Office.
On the contrary, the unpredictable factor that the Government is afraid of, and is unable to raise substantial barriers against, is no more than a "bottom-up" nationalist discourse with rallies and protests (especially in northern Greece) against the proposed solutio,n whenever it comes. There, political costs will be high and handling more difficult.
At the PM's office they know that the church's stance could act as a "detonator" in such an event, as it did in 1992.
This fear was discussed extensively at the informal cabinet meeting that was briefed by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, but also at SYRIZA's political council meeting the following day. That is why the government is intently watching both the processes for collecting signatures in a text that urge citizens to ask for a non-negotiation of the term "Macedonia" and to ask for a referendum, as well as the calls for demnstrations in Thessaloniki.
The banner unfurled at the PAOK stadium during a game did not pass unnoticed. Neither did the statements of the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos, who however referred to Athens and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy for the involvement of the Church in such a mobilization.
Everything indicates that - as soon as the negotiation proceeds - the Prime Minister's communication channel with Archbishop Ieronymos will be fully operational.
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