BREAKING NEWS

Macedonians vote on whether to change country's name

SKOPJE - Macedonians go to polls on Sunday to vote on whether to change their country's name to Republic of North Macedonia, urged by a pro-Western government to pave the way for NATO and EU membership by resolving a decades-old name dispute with Greece.
The referendum is one of the last hurdles for a deal reached between Macedonia and Greece in June to settle their quarrel, which has prevented Macedonia from joining major Western institutions since it broke away from then-Yugoslavia in 1991.Greece, which has its own northern province called Macedonia, has always maintained that Macedonia's name represented a claim on its territory. It vetoed Macedonia's entrance into NATO and the EU, and forced it to enter the United Nations under a provisional name as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev argues that accepting a new name is a price worth paying for admission into the EU and NATO. But nationalist opponents say it would undermine the ethnic identity of the country's Slavic majority population. President Gjorge Ivanov has said he will boycott the referendum.
Western governments see NATO and European Union membership as the best way of preserving the peace and stability in the Balkans after a decade of wars with the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Subscribe for our daily newsletter
Subscribe for our daily newsletter

By subscribing I accept the terms of use