The dispute over the name is resolved! Do you know how to call Macedonia now?

13 June 2018, 08:39 | Policy
Text Size:

One of the longstanding diplomatic conflicts is close to resolution: the authorities of Macedonia and Greece agreed to rename the former Yugoslav republic to North Macedonia.

"We agreed," - said Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras.

"There is no road back," the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev echoed him.

The dispute over the name, which arose after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, complicated the relations between the countries for 27 years, and also prevented the entry of Macedonia into NATO and the European Union.

The Greeks objected to the neighboring Balkan country being named the same way as the Greek historical region in the north of Greece, on the border with Macedonia, for fear of possible territorial claims.

The new name should still be approved by legislators of both countries.

The country with a population slightly more than Kharkov, formed after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and occupied the southernmost part of it, expressed a desire to be called Macedonia in 1991.

142 countries, including Russia, recognized the Balkan country as the Republic of Macedonia. Greece opposed.

Before the settlement of the dispute, it was decided to call Macedonia "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)".

Athens also accused the authorities of the new republic of stealing Greece's cultural heritage and in 2008 blocked Macedonia's entry into NATO and the European Union, demanding the change of name.

The authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic after the breakup of Yugoslavia set out to write a story for their new state.

And if the capital was felt relatively easily - it was the city of Skopje, a provincial town in the time of Yugoslavia, but still had a long and very variegated chronicle (there, for example, in the 1st century AD. the Romans broke a military camp, and subsequently formed a Roman colony), then with cultural attractions the situation was not so good.

To solve this issue, in 2010, under the then Prime Minister Nikolay Gruevskiy, using the Skopje 2014 project, an "anti-quiz" process was launched, designed to find the ancient roots of the nation and populate the city with cultural attractions.

Within the framework of the antiquity, the theory was actively promoted, according to which modern Macedonians are not Slavs, but direct descendants of Macedonians of antiquity.

New objects of cultural importance were built, in particular, the Museum of Struggle for Macedonia, the Macedonian Opera, the Arc de Triomphe "Macedonia", the National Theater, the new bridge over the Vardar River and many monuments to various historical figures.

Among them the main ones are the monument to Alexander the Great in the square of Macedonia, erected on a thick column surrounded by lions, as well as a monument to his father, Philip II, the king of Macedonia (Ancient Greek).

Skopje airport also suddenly became known in honor of Alexander the Great.

Against this, Greece not only objected to such perpetuation of its national heroes as an encroachment on its own historical heritage, but also many Macedonians who perceived the abundance of new architectural buildings and monuments as excess and kitsch.

In addition, the development of the project was supposed to spend 80 million euros, but in April 2013 the Macedonian authorities recognized that 200 million euros had already been spent.

Supporters of the idea pointed out that with the advent of new cultural attractions the influx of tourists to Skopje.

Everything changed with the arrival in May 2017 of the new Prime Minister from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia Zoran Zaev.

Even before the election, he announced that the country's accession to NATO and the European Union was a priority and that he was ready to discuss the possibility of renaming the Republic of Macedonia and agreeing on this with Greece.

The new administration began to gradually move away from the antiquity and already renamed the Skopje airport, as well as the motorway leading to Greece, which also lost its belonging to Alexander the Great, and was simply called the "Freeway of Friendship".

After months of negotiations and reflection, the parties formed a shortlist of three titles: "New Macedonia", "Northern Macedonia" and "Upper Macedonia".

"Zaev chose the names he wants," said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kodzias on Monday in an interview with Greek Kontra TV.

According to Agence France-Presse, the new agreements are based on a 20-page working agreement, worked out during the negotiations between Kodzias and his Macedonian counterpart Nikolai Dimitrov.

The agreement in particular will state that the Macedonian language has Slavic roots and has no origins in ancient Greek antiquity.

"It is quite clear that [Macedonia] has nothing to do with the ancient culture [of Macedonia] ... and that their language belongs to a group of Slavic languages," said Kodzias.

Last Monday, the Prime Ministers of both countries - Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev - talked for a long time on the phone, finally settling the nuances of the agreements.

As one of the main reasons for the intensification of the name negotiations, observers indicate the growing influence of Russia in the Balkans.

As the US Ambassador to Greece Jeffrey Pyatt recently said in an interview with the Greek television channel Skai TV, if no solution around the name is found, it will have "geopolitical consequences".

"We saw the malicious influence of Russia in a particularly rude form in October 2016, when there was an attempted coup in Montenegro, where there were all the prints of the Russian trace. And this is noticeable throughout the region, "the ambassador said..

"The Kremlin's desire to create confusion about the [geopolitical] orientation of the countries of the region, as well as the whole process of reforms and the Euro-Atlantic course, which the citizens of these countries have chosen," grows, adding that the US sees Greece as "a pillar of stability in this complex region".

The same mood was reflected in the working document of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations of the British House of Lords.

As the Greek newspaper Vima wrote back in February 2018, the committee of the British parliament called on the government to support Macedonia's entry into NATO, as it "will serve as an important step towards greater stability in the region".

In addition, on June 28, the EU summit will take place, and on July 11 the NATO summit, and both countries wanted to break the deadlock before this deadline.

The new name "Republic of Northern Macedonia" should be approved by legislators of both countries.

As Tsipras said, the treaty will be ratified by the Greek Parliament, if Macedonia complies with all formalities on its part. The Prime Minister of Macedonia said earlier that the issue of renaming will be put to the vote for a referendum.

Last Wednesday, throughout Greece, rallies were held, at which the speakers urged the authorities not to make any compromise over the disputed name, indicating that "Macedonia" is one and only Greek.

Of course, there are those in Macedonia who do not want to easily abandon the attempt to find the ancient roots - especially when significant funds are spent for it - but the former Yugoslav republic is more inclined to compromise for the sake of joining NATO and the EU.

At the same time, observers point out that even the resolution of this dispute and the lifting of the veto by Greece may not solve the issue of accession for the Macedonians, as a number of countries of the bloc are opposed to the further expansion of the EU, in particular France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark.

Add a comment
:D :lol: :-) ;-) 8) :-| :-* :oops: :sad: :cry: :o :-? :-x :eek: :zzz :P :roll: :sigh:
 Enter the correct answer