Macedonia Name Dispute Deal Tabled to Greek Parliament, Vote Expected Friday

Macedonia Name Dispute Deal Tabled to Greek Parliament, Vote Expected Friday

Macedonia’s top diplomat has described the name deal with Greece as “too significant to fail”.

A draft bill for the ratification of the historic name dispute deal between Greece and Macedonia has been tabled to the Greek Parliament, with the vote of the contested legislation expected within a week.

The tabling of the bill came after earlier this week the leftist Cabinet of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras barely survived a confidence vote over the name deal with Greece’s northern neighbor, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

The deal was negotiated in June 2018 by Tsipras and Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in the so called Prespa (Prespes) Agreement.

Under it, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would adopt the name “Republic of North Macedonia”, while Greece would recognize its new name, and lift its vetoes to the former’s accession talks with NATO and the EU.

Greece has been vetoing Macedonia’s bids to join the EU and NATO since it insists the name of the former Yugoslav republic threatens its national integrity as northern Greek administrative districts are also named “Macedonia”.

The ratification of the name dispute deal in Macedonia has also been tumultuous, including a failed referendum and aid from opposition defectors.

Following the tabling of the Macedonian name dispute deal for ratification by the Greek Parliament, representatives of the Greek parliamentary parties are going to meet on Monday at noon in order to agree on a timetable for debating the legislation, and on a date for holding a vote, reports Greek news site Naftemporiki.

However, reports by Greece’s state news agency say that the ratification bill for the name dispute deal with Macedonia will first be debated at a meeting of the defense and foreign affairs committee of the Greek Parliament, whereas the actual ratification vote is to be held on Friday.

Meanwhile, while on an official visit in Turkey’s capital Ankara, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov expressed optimism about the ratification process.

He described the Macedonia – Greece name dispute deal put together by Tsipras and Zaev as “too significant to fail”.

“Macedonia has lost a generation waiting (for Euro-Atlantic integration), due to the issue over the name,” Dimitrov said, as cited by Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu.

Greek media have noted his wording of his country’s name as “Macedonia”, the one opposed by Greece, rather than “North Macedonia” as per the name deal, or FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), the name under which Macedonia is officially recognized by the UN, the EU, and NATO precisely because of Greece’s objections.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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