Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

Macedonia and Greece reach agreement in name dispute

"I have good news. a while ago we reached an agreement with the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on an issue which has been on our minds for many years", Mr Tsipras told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a televised meeting. Macedonia will also amend its constitution to reflect the change as part of the deal.

Under the deal, the country known at the United Nations as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) will be named Severna Makedonija, or Republic of North Macedonia.

The current prime ministers' attempts to end the dispute have faced dissent in both countries, leading to large protests by opponents of a compromise, threatening to split Greece's governing coalition and provoking a rift between Macedonia's prime minister and president. By adopting the same identity in 1991, the new nation comprised by a Slavic population who have no historical or cultural connection to the Ancient Macedonians from whom the name derives infuriated many Greeks, who suspected their northern neighbor of territorial ambitions and cultural appropriation.

Greece had long demanded that Macedonia change or modify its name to avoid any claim to the territory and ancient heritage of Greece's northern region of Macedonia - birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

In 2016, amid Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II, Athens accused Skopje of using "excessive force" to push back hundreds of migrants trying to cross into Macedonia to continue their journey to northern Europe.

If the name change is approved by the Macedonian people and the parliaments of both nations, then it would pave the way for the tiny Balkan nation's eventual North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union memberships.

Greece had also vetoed its neighbor's bid to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

"In other words, if the constitutional amendment is not successfully completed, then the invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be automatically rescinded and the accession talks with the European Union will not start", he said.

The deal was welcomed by European Union officials.

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'I am keeping my fingers crossed, ' he said. So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a "philotimo subscriber".

In a statement, the Party of European Socialists (PES) welcomed the agreement reached by the two Prime Ministers.

They said they looked forward to accession negotiations beginning with Skopje in June.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias had prepared a 20-page draft agreement after repeated talks with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.

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.

The proposed name change has been resisted by sections of the Macedonian public. "We just saw a press conference where the defeat is shown as a fake victory", Hristijan Mickoski, president of opposition party VMRO-DPMNE said.

Greek opponents of the deal say it would not go far enough.

"The solution that was agreed is a bad agreement".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also declared a deal had been struck.

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