Macedonia aims to settle name dispute with Greece to advance EU, NATO membership bids

  • Tomáš Krajňák
  • 21.6.2017 11:32

Macedonia's new Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wants to convince the EU to revive accession talks by this autumn as he stated during his visit to Brussels on 12 June. He also expressed hope for an invitation to join NATO despite long-lasting Greek objections. The main issue is the unresolved name dispute with Greece, which believes Macedonia's use of the name could imply territorial claims on northern territories of Greece, which also bear the name Macedonia. 

Macedonia has been a candidate for accession to the EU since 2005 but has not yet entered accession negotiations. Similarly, its NATO application has been vetoed in 2008. However, last week Macedonia asked Greece to help its bid to join the organisations, and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias stated that Athens support Macedonia's integration but only once the name issue is resolved. Zaev believes that entering under the provisional UN reference – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM – is one of the possibilities. And although the usage of the same name was used in Macedonia's bid to join NATO in 2008, some observers believe that this time Macedonia's new government could use the increased US and EU interest in the Western Balkans due to Russia's growing impact in the region.

About author: Tomáš Krajňák

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