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    Long-standing naming dispute resolved when Greece agrees to recognize "Republic of North Macedonia"




    Europe: Greece
    Europe: Republic of North Macedonia

    Long-standing naming dispute resolved when Greece agrees to recognize "Republic of North Macedonia"

    After years of a long-standing dispute in which Greece refused to recognize the name Macedonia of the country claiming that designation, a resolution was reached in June 2018.  To that end, Greece said it would recognize Macedonia as "Republic of North Macedonia" or "Severna Macedonja.”  

    At the heart of the dispute was the  distinction between the larger historical region referred to as Macedonia and the contemporary country -- a successor state following the gragmentation of the former Yugoslavia -- claiming the same name.  As a result of this dispute, the country was admitted to the United Nations in 1993 using the temporary designation "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) until a permanent resolution could be reached.  That United Nations decision, at the time, made clear that the contemporary FYROM was also to be distinguished from the Greek area of Macedonia. In 2018, the Greek and Macedonian leadership reached concurrence and agreed that the country would be referred to as  "Republic of North Macedonia" or "Severna Macedonja.”  

    The concurrence between Athens and Skopje effectively ended the symbolic conflict between the two countries that had lasted more than quarter of a century.  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made the announcement following a meeting with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. 

    Editor's Note: 

    Following the fragmentation of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, an independent successor state found itself embroiled in an ongoing imbroglio with  Greece over the usage of the historic name "Macedonia." At the heart of the dispute was the distinction between the larger historical region referred to as Macedonia and the contemporary country  claiming the same name.  The dispute led to the country entering the United Nations in 1993 under the temporary designation "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM).  Greece said it would work to prevent the country self-identifying as Macedonia  from entering the European Union and NATO unless it conceded to its demands over the name Macedonia, which Greece has said properly belongs to its culture and should be distinguished from the Slavic terrain of the same name. To that end, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  petitioned the International Court of Justice at The Hague to consider its case.  But in  2008, animosity between the two countries contributed to Greece's decision to  thwart the Former Yugoslav Republic of  Macedonia from joining NATO.  Greece also warned it would continue to work to prevent the Former Yugoslav Republic of  Macedonia from joining the European Union.  That being said, three years later, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)  in The Hague ruled against Greece for blocking the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)'s bid to join NATO. This ruling represented a symbolic victory for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; however,  the naming dispute between FYROM and Greece continued with no resolution for several years.  In 2018, the Greek and Macedonian leadership fonally reached an agreement that the country would be referred to as  "Republic of North Macedonia" or "Severna Macedonja.”  


     


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