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Republic of Macedonia or North Macedonia?

Before Macedonia even became an independent state, Greece objected to its existence under such a name. The Greek challenge to the name, ‘Republic of Macedonia’ is a smokescreen over Greek objections to the very existence of the Macedonian state and nation. The freeing up of the Macedonian accession process into the EU and NATO should never undermine the right of the nation to its own existence. The Prespa Agreement, while ostensibly resolving the ‘name dispute,’ has disturbing ramifications for the interpretation of Macedonian history, Macedonian identity, and Macedonian language and culture.

Republic of Macedonia or North Macedonia
Supporters of a boycott for the name-change referendum celebrate in front of the parliament in Skopje on September 30, 2018, as the vote was marred by a low turnout, with only a third of the electorate voting. ARMEND NIMANI / AFP / Getty Images
 

Introduction

Encyclopedia Britannica notes that literally, “Europa” is thought to have meant “Mainland,” an appropriate designation of the broadening, extensive northerly lands that lay beyond Greece, lands with characteristics but vaguely known… clearly different from those inherent in the concepts of Asia and Libya, both of which, relatively prosperous and civilized, were associated closely with the culture of the Greeks and their predecessors. Among the lands north of Greece today is also (the Republic of) Macedonia. Or is it? Since its independence in 1991, the country’s name has been vigorously disputed by its southern neighbor. For more than twenty years the naming dispute remained unresolved, despite the UN-sponsored talks between the countries on the differences over the name. Last year Macedonia and Greece signed an agreement which regulates that the name of the country is North Macedonia. Has this agreement signed at the Prespa Lake ended the dispute? The answer is no. The name change is illegitimate and essentially unsustainable over the long term, creating only a dangerous precedent by running counter imperative to international legal norms (ius cogens).

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