Tory eurosceptic MP Daniel Kawczynski suggested, in the House of Commons yesterday, that Greece should not be allowed to veto the accession by Macedonia to the EU while the issue of the name “Macedonia” remains unresolved. (The Greeks famously object to the use of the name Macedonia, which they claim belongs only to the region of northern Greece governed from Thessaloniki.)
Does Daniel Kawczynski realise the mistake he has made? The reason why Greece can exercise this veto is because the major changes to the EU, such as amendments to the treaties and the admission of new members, are made by unanimity. Each one of 27 member states has to agree before anything substantial can be done.
Daniel Kawczynski might object that the Greeks are being unreasonable or inconsistent in their view, but that only reinforces the point. Unanimity requires that each member state agrees to a proposal, on its own terms. It is not for anyone else to judge why a single member state might choose to block a decision; all they can do is accept it.
To assert that Greece should not be permitted to block Macedonian membership of the EU is to chip away at the rights of the member states, including the rights of the UK, within the EU system. Is that what Daniel Kawczynski really wants?