Macedonia row triggers government crisis in Athens

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has resigned in protest at the agreement reached in the name dispute with neighbouring Macedonia. Because Kammenos is also the leader of the junior coalition partner Anel, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced a vote of confidence in a bid to stay in office until the parliamentary elections in the autumn. The parliament is to decide the fate of the name dispute agreement by the end of January.

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Die Welt (DE) /

Tsipras deserves Europe's gratitude

Die Welt is impressed by Tsipras's determination to end the name dispute with Greece's neighbour:

“Tsipras now faces a vote of confidence in which as things stand now he lacks a majority. In any case there will be new elections this year, and his Syriza party is trailing far behind the conservative Neo Demokratia. So it looks very much like he'll lose his post this year. Europe's politicians, who were always quick to curse him for his unwillingness to reform, should show respect and even gratitude towards the Greek leader. Because it's pretty much certain that by seeking a compromise and peace in Europe with the settlement, he's sacrificed his own position.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Reconciliation must not fail

Tages-Anzeiger also praises the Greek prime minister for his courage:

“[Before his party loses the elections] he wants to have the Prespa Agreement passed by parliament - after his government faces a vote of confidence this Wednesday. The prime minister has no doubt already made sure that he'll secure a razor thin majority for both. Otherwise, as he has already warned, Greece will be a laughing stock on the world stage. And he is no doubt right. If the deal fails it would put an end to an important work of reconciliation, and that would be a huge mistake. That burden would then also have to be borne by Greek's major conservative party Nea Dimokratia, which prefers to try to win the next elections rather than reach out a hand to Tsipras for a historic compromise.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Only new elections can solve the problems

Only a homogenous government with a solid majority will last, Naftemporiki writes calling for new elections:

“A political paradox has come to an end. The coexistence of a left party in the same government as a party that is the most conservative version of the right. ... The dissolution of this unusual government is not yet the solution to the country's political problems. ... Greece faces major problems both domestically and in its relations with other countries, and a government based on the sum of individual heterogeneous MPs can solve them. The country's problem is not of a constitutional nature. ... In democracies such political problems are resolved with elections.”