Greece and Macedonia reached a historic agreement on settling a dispute between the two countries over the name of the former Yugoslav republic that has been straining relations between the two countries for decades. Thus Macedonia’s new name will be Northern Macedonia. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev confirmed in his address to the nation that he had reached an agreement with the Greek side according to which Macedonia’s new constitutional name would be Northern Macedonia reports Republika.mk.
He announced that the agreement, which should be signed on Saturday, should be put on a referendum in order to explain the citizens about him. Among other things, he said that the agreement ensures Macedonia’s emergence from isolation, giving it a European perspective, stability and progress. He said that the Macedonians remain Macedonians as an ethnic community with that name, and that they will be kept in the documents as citizens of Northern Macedonia.
“We have an agreement. We are happy to have a good agreement that meets all the preconditions of the Greek side,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said to Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during their live television broadcast.
The name dispute, Macedonia, was a stumbling block in relations between the two countries since 1991, when Macedonia broke away from the former Yugoslavia, declaring independence under the name of the Republic of Macedonia.
Macedonian president vetoed the name decision
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has announced that he will not sign a “harmful” agreement between Athens and Skopje, which, after decades of long dispute, agreed on a new name “Northern Macedonia” on Tuesday reports Politico.
“The name agreement is a personal agreement of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nikola Dimitrov,” the Macedonian President said.
Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Tuesday that after a 27-year dispute, a compromise new name for Macedonia, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, was agreed.
“This agreement is unacceptable and I will not allow its legalization,” Ivanov said on television and concluded that “he will not sign an agreement with Greece” and that “his decision is final”.
According to the agreement, Zaev’s government must hold a referendum on the name, so ratify a decision in parliament, the DPA writes. Only after that will Greece ratify it, thus allowing Skopje to join NATO and approach the European Union.
Bulgaria does not want to lose “Western Bulgaria”
The matter is further complicated due to the attitude of Sofia, which regards Macedonia as “Western Bulgaria”. For them, this means insult, because the name “Republic of Northern Macedonia” usurps the territory of Bulgaria reports the Macedonian portal Infomax.
“Various options were considered in various consultations with us, and one of the possibilities was North Macedonia, if I’m not mistaken. I said that we will not accept this name, because tomorrow it will be said that Blagoevgrad is Macedonian” ~ Borisov said at that time, the Bulgarian media recalled.
Infomax writes that Greece is already celebrating and has sent the text of the agreement to all embassies. In Macedonia, there is an uproar and pending announcements of an opposition initiative, which has already been announced that in case of a referendum, there will be a sharp campaign against this version of the country’s name.