Polish FM welcomes deal to rename Macedonia
PR dla Zagranicy
The Polish foreign ministry has welcomed an agreement between Skopje and Athens to rename Macedonia in a bid to end a 27-year-long spat between the countries.
Protesters in Skopje oppose plans to change their country's name. Photo: EPA/NAKE BATEV
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on June 12 agreed to rename the former Yugoslav republic the Republic of North Macedonia.
The countries' dispute over the name has stunted Skopje’s ambitions to join the European Union and NATO.
Warsaw strongly supports Skopje's possible accession to the European Union.
“We believe that the launch of EU accession negotiations this year and a clear signal from NATO about its readiness to welcome Skopje among its member states will contribute to greater security and stability of the entire Western Balkans region,” the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement.
Claims to the name Macedonia have been disputed by the countries. The ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon falls mostly within Greece’s modern-day borders, and the country is also home to the region of Macedonia.
In the international arena, Macedonia is usually referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The deal has been slammed by many Greeks and Macedonians who took to the streets in protest.
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov on Wednesday said he would not sign an agreement to rename the country, saying the deal was “damaging”.
He said the deal gave Greece too many concessions and would violate the Macedonian constitution.
The foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece plan to sign the deal this weekend. It would then need to go through Macedonian parliament and be signed by Ivanov.
Should Ivanov veto, the new name would return to the floor in parliament and, if it is approved by a qualified majority, the president will be obliged to accept it. (vb)
Source: MSZ, PAP