Senior officials from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) said on Friday that they have made progress in talks to revise school books in the two countries as part of an effort to end hostility between the two countries.
“History should be an opportunity to learn in schools and not be a (mental) prison,” Greek Deputy Foreign Minister George Katrougalos said in Thessaloniki after meeting FYROM’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.
Under a provisional agreement reached in June, Greece and FYROM pledged to “take effective measures to prohibit any hostile actions or propaganda … likely to incite chauvinism, hostility, irredentism, and revisionism.”
That action includes removing references in school books that could cause offense, and the two countries set up a 14-member joint academic committee to review them. The committee held its first meeting in Thessaloniki earlier this month.
“They had a very constructive meeting … they approved the methodology for their work and I think the tone and atmosphere of the meeting was very encouraging,” Dimitrov said.
“This is not easy and it’s no wonder that we call this a historic breakthrough.”