Athens, 24 February 2020 (MIA) – The process of forming a Friendship Group between Greece and North Macedonia is underway in the Greek Parliament. Legislators have received a memo calling for those interested in applying to participate in this group, MIA’s correspondent in Athens has learned.
It’s about Greek legislators, who alongside their Macedonian counterparts in Parliament, will be part of the Greece-North Macedonia Friendship Group.
It’s customary for MPs of all parties of the Greek Parliament to take part in such groups. According to MIA’s data, over the next period, the constitution of the Greek group will be determined.
According to information posted on the Greek Parliament’s official website, friendship groups are formed based on the Speaker’s decision after a written request by the MPs. If possible, MPs of all parliamentary groups participate in these groups. The subject of the work of these groups is strengthening parliamentary diplomacy on an international bilateral level.
Bournous: The Friendship Group is another step in building trust and cooperation between the two countries
Yiannis Bournous, SYRIZA MP who was part of the Greek delegation in Skopje – led by former Greek PM Alexis Tsipras – commented while talking to MIA’s Athens correspondent that this resolution is extremely important and positive, “considering the fact that it comes from a government that fought against the Prespa Agreement up until the elections,” revealing that he will personally apply to be part of the group.
“As soon as this conversation ends, I will respond to the e-mail, stating that I would like to be in the Friendship Group, taking into account that when Alexis Tsipras, back when he was PM, and I, visited Skopje and the Assembly, we met people who already had set up a contact group with Greece, asking us when such a group would be formed in the Greek Parliament. This is the resolution we’ve been waiting for, another step in building trust and cooperation between the two countries after the signing of the Prespa Agreement,” Bournous says.
In regards to his expectations about the composition of the group, Bournous hopes for representatives of all parties, excluding Greek Solution, a radical right-wing party.
“This will show the views and intentions of each party. I can assure you that many members of SYRIZA will participate because we will defend, politically, the historic choice we made with the Prespa Agreement. I hope that other parties will participate as well, excluding the radical right-wing populist party Greek Solution. I hope to see New Democracy as well, after all, they did say they would honor the agreement after they got the desired results in the elections,” Bournous tells MIA.
77 Friendship Groups exist in the Greek Parliament
According to the Greek Parliament’s website, there are 77 Friendship Groups with just as many countries, covering parliamentary relations with parliaments in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
“The Friendship Groups’ meetings aim to strengthen the collaboration with parliaments in all countries, presenting Greek’s viewpoints on important international questions, promoting national matters and strengthening international support,” the website says.
All countries of the region, including EU members and EU member candidates, most European countries, some Arab countries, the United States, China and Russia are among the 77 countries that the Greek Parliament collaborates with through parliamentary groups.
Each group has a president, VP, secretary, and members.
If an analysis is conducted, the number of members for each group is different depending on the country. For example, there are Friendship Groups that don’t even have one member, or have only three members, and some groups have more than 50 members, MIA’s Athens correspondent says.
Out of the countries of the region, the Montenegrin Group has only three members – a president, a VP and a secretary, the Friendship Groups with Slovenia and Croatia have six members, seven with BiH and Bulgaria, 17 with Albania, and 30 with Serbia, which includes the president, VP, and secretary.
The Friendship Group with Germany has 16 members, and the one with France has 17 members.
The Friendship Groups with Russia and the United States have 62 and 56 members, respectively.
Translator: Dragana Knežević