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Macedonia agrees on a new name with Greece after 27 years

After 25 years of protests, Greece and Macedonia have declared peace. It has taken countless UN-mediated talks between the two Balkan states to ascertain what to call the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The small state will not be known as Macedonia nor as its acronym, FYROM, but as the Republic of North Macedonia. Such a name ends any fear among the Greeks of territorial ambition against the neighboring Greek province of the same name, Macedonia. Alexis Tsipras, Greek Prime Minister, stated that after months of negotiations and talks, the issue regarding the name of the neighboring country has been resolved. He further asserted that the new name will applied domestically and engaging in bilateral relations internationally. The new name will forever end any claims from the country for the Greek province of Macedonia and relations to the ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia. Greek authorities view this incident as a diplomatic victory and a historical event for the Balkans. 

Soon after the Republic of North Macedonia seceded from the former Yugoslavia, both the neighboring states were at loggerheads with each other especially after the Republic stating claiming the ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia. It started claiming important figures including the great warrior, Alexander the Great. The leftist government that took power in Greece in 2015 made resolving this issue a priority. The talks were brokered by the United States and were influenced the rise to power of a Social Democrat in Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. According to Zaev, the agreement will preserve the culture, language and ethnic identity of Macedonia and the agreement will be put to a popular vote under a referendum later this year. 

Both the leaders, Tsipras and Zaev, have anti-nationalist inclinations and this led to a successful dialogue between the two. They adopted a progressive approach to solve an issue that grappled both the nation for years and also prevented Macedonia to gain the memberships of the EU and the NATO. The evidence of Russian mischief making in the Balkan states worried the NATO and the EU of the destabilization that can occur in the region. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, welcomed the agreement by calling it historic and prompted both sides to finalize it as soon as possible. 

  • Macedonia
  • Greece
  • Balkan
  • Yugoslavia