Securing public and opposition support for both the name change and for the next steps required for the republic’s possible accession to the EU and Nato took centre stage in a September 13 address to the European Parliament by the Republic of Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
“As Prime Minister, I promise that we are doing everything we can to reach the EU’s standards. We know the recommendations and they are our priorities. We also know that we still have a long way to go, but your warm welcome gives us strong motivation to continue our reform agenda,” he told MEPs.
“Our fight for a European future was a key factor in the historic agreements with Greece and with Bulgaria. We are a European success-story – an authentic model for a functional multi-ethnic democracy. A sort of a small Europe – daily living the European motto “United in Diversity”, Zaev said.
Greece and the Republic of Macedonia signed a preliminary agreement to rename the latter in June, following a decades-long name dispute, which blocked the former Yugoslav republic’s prospects of joining the European Union and Nato.
The proposed new name on the table is the “Republic of North Macedonia”.
The outcome of the name negotiations, which has already been formally ratified by the parliament in Skopje, will also be put to a referendum in the country on September 30.
The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to vote on a report assessing the 2018 Commission report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia later this autumn.
(Photo of Zaev: (c) European Union)