Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Macedonian Name Deal Faces Opposition, Tests In Parliament

Macedonian Name Deal Faces Opposition, Tests In Parliament

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reached a preliminary deal with neighbouring Greece to end a decades-long dispute over its name, unblocking its path to joining the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In this photo released by Greek Prime Minister's office, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a televised address to the nation, in Athens, Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Green prime minister Alexis Tsipras said a deal had been reached that would give Macedonia a different name that would be used domestically and internationally.

Macedonia will now be named Republic of North Macedonia after its prime minister reached an agreement with his Greek counterpart.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev
GETTYThe tiny Balkan country has repeatedly tried to join both the EU and Nato

Macedonia will change its name after a 27-year dispute with Greece.

The United Nations envoy who has tried to mediate the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia for almost as long as the dispute has existed is congratulating the countries' prime ministers for resolving their differences.

"The chance is here and it must be seized, bravely, as this is the only patriotic way", Macedonian Prime Minisrter Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

According to the BBC, its language will still be known as Macedonian, and its people will also be known as Macedonians - but citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.

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After splitting from the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations in 1993 as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Previous administrations in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, resisted demands to change or modify the name. So even the countries that have recognized the small Balkan country as Macedonia will have to adapt the new name.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.

Mickoski charged that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev "capitulated" to Greece in making the deal.

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The dispute has meant Greece has blocked the former Yugoslav republic from becoming part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the European Union.

For Greece, the name Macedonia is part of its own cultural heritage and a source of pride as an ancient province that was the core of Alexander the Great's empire more than 2,000 years ago. In Greece, the talks have sparked a confrontation between the embattled Tsipras and his main coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, whose leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos reiterated on Tuesday his party won't back any agreement that includes the term "Macedonia".

'This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy, and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long, ' NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone.

The doors to further Western expansion in the Balkans have been thrown wide open by a seeming breakthrough on the Macedonia name dispute.

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The new name will now have to be approved by Macedonians via a referendum, as well as the Republic's parliament. Tusk said: "Thanks to you the impossible is becoming possible", he said.

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