ICG REPORT ON MACEDONIA - GREECE ISSUE
Greece should accept the “Macedonian” identity and language of its northern neighbor bearing in mind that this does not imply exclusivity and does not challenge the application of the same adjective to the inhabitants of the Greek province of Macedonia.
This is the keynote of the report entitled "The Name of Macedonia: Breaking the Deadlock,"
released today by the International Crisis Group.
Skopje should avoid provoking and accept the UN mediator’s latest proposal to rename the country as “Republic of North Macedonia”. Skopje and Athens should undertake to examine the common history of the region in order to reach a basic understanding and avoid references in the educational curricula that offend the national sensibilities of either country.
According to ICG, after Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO entry at the April 2008 Bucharest summit relations between Skopje and Athens have deteriorated to levels not seen since the early 1990s.
“By blocking Macedonia’s NATO and EU integration, Greece appeared to contravene its undertaking in the 1995 Interim Accord not to let the name issue stand in the way of the country’s membership of international organizations”, says Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group’s Director of Europe Program.
“Pending agreement Skopje should use its provisional name ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ in all multilateral forums, and Athens should drop its veto threats,” Freizer adds.
Don Steinberg, Crisis Group’s Deputy President warns that the Greek-Macedonian dispute "risks derailing the main strategy of both NATO and the EU for stabilizing Macedonia and the region, based on enlargement and integration”
“They should not allow the strategy to fall victim of an intractable dispute involving one of their own members,” Steinberg said.