Greece supporting energy projects ahead of FYROM vote

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis will head a Greek delegation of key energy-sector figures on a visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for energy investment talks with FYROM government officials on September 24 and 25.

The visit has been timed just days ahead of the neighboring country’s September 30 referendum asking voters if they support EU and NATO membership by accepting a recent agreement between their country and Greece over a new name for FYROM, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, to be used for both domestic and international purposes.

The name dispute, 27 years long, has kept the smaller and younger country out of international institutions.

The two sides have not ruled out the signing – during the two-day visit – of Memorandums of Cooperation for energy projects that would provide energy security to the neighboring country and highlight Greece’s prospective role as an energy hub.

Representatives of Greek natural gas grid operator DESFA, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and power grid operator IPTO will join Stathakis, the energy minister, on the visit, also seen as an attempt by Greece to encourage a “yes” vote in the referendum.