The Greeks Adopt Macedonia’s New Name: Northern Macedonia
The Greek Parliament has approved the deal on the name change of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This will end the long-running conflict over the names issue after decades. Macedonia had previously approved the agreement with the Greeks.
The long-running conflict between Athens and Skopje meant that Greece also has a province called Macedonia. Because of the bickering about the name, Greece was long at odds with the accession of the neighbouring country to the European Union and NATO. The countries finally agreed that Macedonia would from now on be called Northern Macedonia.
That deal is very sensitive on both sides of the border. Yesterday thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Greek parliament, where they made their dissatisfaction loudly clear. Some protesters chanted ‘traitors’.
The European Commission welcomes the results. Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, foreign chief Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn (Enlargement) praise in a statement, the political courage, the leadership and the responsibility of the parties on all sides to resolve one of the most rooted conflicts in the region. We can already say with confidence that Athens and Skopje today have written a new page in our common EU future. “
EU President Tusk congratulated the prime ministers of both countries, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras. “They had imagination, they took risks and were prepared to sacrifice their interests for a larger whole. An impossible mission has been accomplished. “Positive reactions also came from the European Parliament.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he looked forward to the moment that the future republic of Northern Macedonia became a member of the military alliance