EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini surprised many in the press room today, when she called ‘Macedonia’ the country that calls itself Macedonia.
The issue is that the Republic of Macedonia, which declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, is called by EU officials “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, because Greece objects to the shorter “Macedonia” or “Republic of Macedonia”, which is the country’s constitutional name.
A majority of EU countries recognise Macedonia under its constitutional name, but then again, some don’t.
Did Mogherini made a mistake, or is she the iconoclast that the EU needs? She was, after all, the first to say that in the context of the Ukraine crisis, Russia should no longer be called the EU’s “strategic partner”.
But how will the Greek government react? Will it be more relaxed that the previous Hellenic establishment? Or probably not?
Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn, beside Mogherini when she used the “M” word, was not impressed and continued to call the country “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Following the publication of this video article, a high official of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs told EURACTIV Greece on condition of anonymity that there is no issue with Mogherini, whom he called a “true friend of Greece”. Reportedly, the Greek ministry immediately spoke with the office of Mogherini yesterday and solved the issue, attributing the “M” word to “an unfortunate slip of the tongue”.