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Politics

Mitsotakis Says North Macedonia Must Use That Name or Else

ATHENS – Hardening his stance, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said a new incoming government in North Macedonia must adhere to a name deal and use that name alone, after some officials there said they will call it Macedonia.

Under a 2019 agreement struck by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and the then-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM,) the name of the Greek province Macedonia was given away to a newly-named North Macedonia.

But now a nationalist-led coalition is coming to power in North Macedonia and the President and majority party leader said they will call their country Macedonia in public while sticking to its official name in international use.

Mitsotakis had said that will lead to Greece blocking North Macedonia’s hopes of joining the European Union and the Greek Parliament will not ratify three parts of the pact if officials in North Macedonia use the name Macedonia alone.

“We will wait for the official positions of the government of North Macedonia, but the first evidence is extremely negative. At the core of the Prespa Agreement was the concept of a single name, what we call erga omnes, that the name North Macedonia should apply to all, i.e. be used both abroad and inside the country,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with state run broadcaster ERT.

North Macedonia’s newly-elected President Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova called her country Macedonia during her inauguration and said she would continue to do so, defying Greece.

Mitsotakis sent her and others in North Macedonia a message though and said, “I want once again send a warning to the new government to change its line from now on, to respect this central provision of the Prespa Agreement, to only use the name North Macedonia in and outside the country, when references are made to our northern neighbor.”

He added: “Otherwise, it is certain that they will cause problems not only in Greece’s relations with North Macedonia, but in Europe’s relations with North Macedonia,” the European Union, United States and Germany backing Greece.

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