Recently a lot of rumours have been flying around concerning the final decision of the International Tribunal of Hague concerning the case brought before the court by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that claims that Greece has violated the Interim Accord of 1995.
There are two things to be said concerning the information about the decision that is due in tomorrow.
Firstly all the rumours can be traced back to this article printed by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini on the 27.11.2011. It must be noted that this short article is unsigned and all its information is based on unnamed sources.
Following this a whole series of articles and news pieces appeared in the media of both countries (especially those of FYROM), all of which were based on the previous article. In these experts were invited to comment on the information given by Kathimerini. The cycle was completed when Kathimerini published a second article on the 03.12.2011. In this exactly the same information was published. However this time it was signed by the well known journalist Stavros Tzimas, who quoted "leaks from the government [of FYROM]"!
Both the articles in Kathimerini basically predict an unfavourable decision from the international court, the second one adding that the government of FYROM has actually chartered flights and is paying for the stay of numerous journalists in the Hague, so that they can transmit the decision live...
The verdict predicted is that the court will condemn Greece for having violated the Interim agreement of 1995, based on declarations of the then Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and the Greek Prime-Minister Kostas Karamanlis. On the other hand the court will reject the second point of the plaintiff, i.e. the anticipational condemnation of any actions Greece might take in the future to block the entry of FYROM into international organisations.
If these rumours have any substance (although, bearing in mind that they all emanate from the same source, many doubts can be advanced) then this decision is actually quite positive for Greece: in fact the court is not even condemning Greece for the act of blocking FYROM's entry into NATO, but only for the fact that its elected representatives declared that they had the intention of blocking its entry! Furthermore it refuses to condemn any similar acts of Greece in the future. Thus all Greece need do is block FYROM's entry, but be discreet about it, and nothing more will come of it! Furthermore Greece will actually have a legal precedent to defend its actions!
Anyway, our curiosity will be satisfied tomorrow (05.12.2011) 10 am (local time), when we can all watch the official announcement of the court’s decision! Furthermore we can expect moves from all parties concerning the question, especially as the coming week will see both an EU general summit and a NATO summit (7-8 December)...Already the PM of FYROM has sent a letter to the new Greek PM, while the Foreign Minister of FYROM has spoken publicly on the matter last week.
It is also interesting to note that the US vice-President Joe Biden will be in Athens on the same day (05.12) and will have meetings with all key players of the Greek political scene (President Karolos Papoulias, Head of PA.SO.K Giorgos Papandreou, Head of N.D. Antonis Samaras and PM Loukas Papadimas).
One can only hope that the momentum created by whatever decision the court comes out with will be used to move the question forward.