Macedonia’s name: Breaking the deadlock

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“Despite the efforts of the contributors, [a new International Crisis Group (ICG) report on Macedonia’s name] reveals certain serious lacunae,” reads a post on the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy’s (ELIAMEP) blog.

The ICG has issued a new report on the “name dispute” between Athens and Skopje to provide a set of proposals for the two parties to reach an agreement, paving the way for “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM) to join NATO and eventually the EU. 

“On the ‘name issue’ with Greece, the argument of regional instability in the early years of this decade is hardly a convincing one,” writes Evangelos Kofos of ELIAMEP.

“Lack of sufficient and dependable information from inside Greece has compelled the authors to rely on third parties or observers in order to assess major changes that have occurred over the last decade in Greek perceptions of the problem,” the Hellenic Foundation adds. 

ELIAMEP suggests a series of amendments to the ICG report. “The state name needs specifically to refer to the region of FYROM, to apply erga omnes, in multilateral and bilateral international relations and transactions, by all organisations, states and other non-governmental international organisations, including the government and the agencies of FYROM,” it writes.

“The parties should accept the name used by the inhabitants of FYROM for their region of geographical Macedonia, i.e. ‘Vardar Macedonia’, or preferably ‘Vardar Makedonija’,” ELIAMEP suggests.

“Derivatives should follow the agreed state name,” the foundation argues, explaining that “state identity cards, passports, etc. would inscribe the citizenship in accordance to the state name”.

“On issues touching upon the self-identification of persons, which includes their ethnicity, [we] hold the opinion that their right to self-identify themselves should be respected,” ELIAMEP stresses.

“This means that the name by which they identify themselves in their language – Makedontsi – should be respected in all foreign languages, including Greek. A similar arrangement might apply to the use of Makedones for the Greek Macedonians,” the blog post concludes. 

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