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FM Kotzias: Greece is a key partner in EU enlargement

Greece is a confirmed key partner in the enlargement of the EU, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Friday following a meeting in Athens with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.

However, any enlargement of the EU must follow the requisites set by the EU?s Council of Foreign Ministers, Kotzias said, reiterating Greece?s support for and contribution to the process initiated by applicant countries.
Kotzias was also asked by Athens-Macedonian News Agency to comment on a tweet sent by Han on their meeting, which said that "Greece is a key partner in the enlargement and neighbourhood countries" and stated that both men shared "a strong interest in spreading stability and boosting reforms, esp. in the W. Balkans." 
The Greek Foreign minister responded that the commissioner "recognizes and confirms a reality: that the role of our foreign policy is upgraded, active, and we are not passive observers of decisions by either the larger members or the Commission. Athens has a role to play, and this is not the only department to exercise it in."
Among other issues he referred to, Kotzias said he had held a three-day meeting with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati on Crete ? which will continue in Albania around Jan. 20 on all open issues. 
Referring to a meeting held last Monday UN mediator Matthew Niemetz with the negotiating teams of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the foreign minister said that Greece will support FYROM?s if its people wish to join the EU, but noted that an agreement on the name must be completed by the summer of 2018 as Greece will be entering an election year in 2019. A meeting between the prime ministers of both countries will only occur if negotiations have progressed adequately, he noted.