What the Greek-Macedonian name deal is about
June 14, 2018 -- For 27 years, Greece and Macedonia have been bedevilled by one of the oddest disputes in international diplomacy – what the smaller, younger and landlocked country of 2.1 million should be called, at home and abroad.
A tentative agreement between their prime ministers could now lead to full normalisation of the two neighbours’ relations, while clearing the main obstacle to realising Macedonia’s dream of becoming part of NATO and the European Union.
Conservative main opposition parties in both countries are against the deal, arguing that it is too generous to the other side. But neither would be able, on its own, to block parliamentary approval of the agreement.
Macedonia’s head of state, conservative-rooted President Gjorge Ivanov, has unequivocally rejected changing the country’s name in its constitution. By law, his signature is necessary for the agreement approved in parliament to be legal, but it is unclear whether he will be able to derail it.