Greece-Macedonia name deal meets with mixed reaction

17 Juin, 2018, 11:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Greece-Macedonia name deal meets with mixed reaction

Lawmakers acted following Tsipras's deal with the neighboring Republic of Macedonia that it should be called Severna Makedonja, or Northern Macedonia. But it's not a done deal, and there's stiff opposition on both sides of the border.

His comments came just a day after Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he had reached a deal with his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, according to which his country would officially be renamed the "Republic of Northern Macedonia".

In another debate earlier, Tsipras shrugged off the no-confidence motion, saying it gave him an opportunity to expose the see-saw tactics of New Democracy, whom he blamed for a series of blunders on the issue when it was in government.

Kosovo says the deal of its southern neighbor Macedonia with Greece on its new name will contribute to peace, stability and Euro-Atlantic regional integration.

Greece argues that the term "Macedonia" implies a claim on the territory and ancient heritage of its own northern province of the same name - the birthplace of ancient warrior king Alexander the Great.

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. The southernmost of six Yugoslav republics, the "People's Republic of Macedonia" was cultivated under federal leader Josip Broz Tito. The dispute then simmered for decades until Yugoslavia disintegrated.

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Romania and the Republic of Macedonia established diplomatic relations in 1992, one year after the formation of the independent state of Macedonia. Greece lodged a protest at the United Nations Security Council, alleging theft of historic and cultural identity.

In the worldwide arena, Macedonia is usually referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In Macedonia, Zaev's government unanimously adopted the agreement, government spokesman Mile Boshnjakovski told reporters after the session. Trailing in the polls, Tsipras can ill-afford to be depicted as a sellout.

"You, Slavs from Skopje through the centuries, you have never been true Macedonians", said Athenian resident Konstandinos Goutras.

Ivanov can veto the Macedonian parliament's decision only once, and has no power to veto a referendum. Zaev does not hold the two thirds majority needed to push it through automatically.

It is expected that the Greek Parliament will begin to consider a vote of no confidence on Thursday evening and conclude on Saturday. Moreover, a resolution of Macedonia's name dispute could create momentum for opening negotiations with Albania over European Union membership, helping overcome opposition from France and the Netherlands. That would be a blow to Zaev's government and could trigger instability across a volatile region.

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