Greece and Macedonia reach deal to end decades-old name dispute

Frederick Owens
June 13, 2018

Veteran United Nations diplomat Matthew Nimetz, who has been a mediator in the name dispute since 1994, hailed the "leadership, vision and determination" of the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia, who have negotiated for months.

"The name change will be implemented not only the country's global relations but also domestically", Tsipras said adding that Skopje would need to revise its constitution.

By solving the dispute which has lingered for more than 25 years, Macedonia will remove the biggest obstacle on its path towards European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession.

It seems, however, that the Republic of North Macedonia, won't be.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Greece and Macedonia have reached an agreement to resolve their 27-year dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name.

Ancient Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a point of pride to Greeks today.

Greece argued that by calling itself Republic of Macedonia the neighboring country was stating a territorial claim of the Greek northern province, also called Macedonia.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials have welcomed a deal between Greece and Macedonia resolving a decades-long dispute over the Balkan country's name. "And it will help to consolidate peace and stability across the wider Western Balkans", he added.

More news: Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining on iOS

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday that a deal had been reached to give Macedonia a different name, addressing all of Greece's concerns.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that he had reached a "good agreement" with Skopje on the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, adding that it satisfied all of Athens' preconditions. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

Skopje also needs to revise its constitution, Tsipras said, before Greece ratifies the deal.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement congratulating the two prime ministers "in reaching this historic agreement between their countries, which contributes to the transformation of the entire region of southeast Europe". He did not, however, spell out what the name will be.

In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute is settled.

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public.

The new name will need to be approved by the Macedonian people and the Greek parliament, but by the sounds of things it's a goer.

"We don't agree and we won't vote for any deal including the name 'Macedonia, '" Panos Kammenos, Greek Defense Minister and head of the rightist Independent Greeks party, said.

A resolution of the dispute would see Greece lift objection to Macedonia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER