Solving a three-decade long name dispute, Greece and Macedonia have agreed upon a historic agreement on Sunday under which, the Balkan state of Macedonia has agreed to change its name to North Macedonia and henceforth, herald towards a fresh era of peace in the region.
Macedonia the country located in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, was a part of former Yugoslavia from which it got independence in 1991. In 1993, the country became a member of the United Nations but due to the dispute with Greece over the use of the name “Macedonia”, it was admitted under the provisional description the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. Greece had opposed the country’s nomenclature as it believes that by keeping the name Macedonia, the country was implying that it had a right over the northern Greek province which is also known as Macedonia.
After 27 years of bitter debates, protests and controversies, Macedonia finally signed a pact on Sunday under which, it will change its name to North Macedonia. The name change will affirm its resolution with Greece and henceforth, open up paths for Macedonia to join European Union and NATO, which was stopped by Greece, using its veto till now. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev were present to witness the landmark agreement being signed by their foreign ministers at Lake Prespa on Greece’s northern border on Sunday. At the event, Tsipras affirmed and assured that Greece will lift all the objections against Macedonia and will support it to join all the international alliances and organisations.
Hailing the move, Tsipras said that this move was a “patriotic and mutually beneficial agreement for both peoples” and is expected to end the bitter spat between the two countries to herald peace. As per the agreement, Macedonia has agreed to give a new name to the Balkan state which will now be known as Republic of North Macedonia. However, the agreement is still required to pass a referendum in Macedonia and ratification in the parliaments of both countries. Once ratified and passed, the world will witness the tiny Balkan being renamed as the Republic of North Macedonia – which will be their “own rendezvous with history”.