The prime minister of North Macedonia has indicated that it was a “mistake” on his part to recently refer to his country’s national football team, which is participating in the European Championship 2020, as “Macedonia,” omitting the qualifier “North.”
“Sometimes, it’s normal to make mistakes, precisely in the Prespa Agreement. But I’m 46 years old. It’s normal in 47 years to mention it in one sentence and to repeat it sometimes,” Zoran Zaev told a press conference Skopje, speaking in English.
“I believe in the Prespa Agreement … I’m the first to follow the Prespa Agreement,” he added.
He said the national team comprised “Macedonian players, Albanian players, Bosniaks etc … They are Macedonians … and the representation of the Republic of North Macedonia.”
Attending Monday’s game between North Macedonia and the Netherlands, Zaev tweeted: “Today, from the stadium in Amsterdam, I offer my strong support to the Macedonian national football team.”
The tweet caused a storm in Athens, with the government reportedly postponing a cooperation memorandum with North Macedonia in protest.
Zaev said the tweet was not a reason to hold up the Prespa Agreement and associated memorandums in the Greek parliament.
“We waited two years for these agreements. And we can wait three more months more,” he said, adding that the citizens in both countries wanted the memorandums to proceed.