The Greek Parliament’s approval of a protocol lifting a veto barring The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from getting into NATO has paved the way for Greece’s neighbor to start easing into its new name: North Macedonia.
The agreement requires FYROM to make the change that still sees it keeping the name of Macedonia, an ancient Greek province, and its citizens being allowed to call themselves Macedonians, with a Macedonian language, culture and identity.
What will be North Macedonia will also begin European Union accession talks after Greece lifted a veto barring those hopes. In return, Greece got only the geographical qualifier attached to the name of its own province of Macedonia.
FYROM officials said signs on the border crossing with Greece will change to North Macedonia soon and the country must also inform the United Nations and all countries it has established diplomatic relations with of the name change, and ensure all domestic signs and internal documents conform with the change.
The deal was done by anti-nationalist Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who said did it to end a 28-year name feud that began when a New Democracy government in 1991 allowed the country emerging from the collapse of Yugoslavia to take the name of Macedonia in what was supposed to be a temporary acronym.
After successive FYROM governments then began claiming Greek lands, including the real Macedonia and second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki, Greek governments imposed the veto on NATO and EU entry hopes that have now been lifted.