Historic Rapprochement between Macedonia and Greece

This part of Lake Prespa may in future be part of “North Macedonia”. © Martin Schneider-Jacoby

Yesterday the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece signed an agreement in the border area of Lake Prespa which will settle the long-running dispute over the name of Macedonia. “We are delighted for our conservation partners in Macedonia. The dispute over the name had prevented progress towards Macedonia’s membership of the EU, but now the settlement will remove this problem which had hung like a millstone round its neck. Joining the EU will open up new opportunities, which will preserve Macedonia’s remarkable natural resources and the Balkan Green Belt from destruction”, said Annette Spangenberg of EuroNatur.

Greece refuses the right of its neighbour to the historical name of Macedonia (Old Greek: Makedonia). In future, the former Yugoslav Republic is to be called North Macedonia. In return, Athens will no longer block the country’s membership of the EU and NATO. Nevertheless, the implementation of the agreement will still be a long and difficult road. In the coming weeks, the parliament in Skopje will have to approve the agreement, and, in the autumn, there will be a referendum on the necessary change to the constitution. After that, the Greek parliament will in its turn debate the approval of the agreement.

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