Greece to Recognize ‘Macedonian’ Language, Ethnicity

The agreement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the name dispute entails compromises from both sides.

Skopje has agreed to change its name to the ‘Republic of North Macedonia’. It has also agreed that the new name will be used both internationally and domestically.

FYROM has also agreed to make constitutional changes that will eradicate all references seen as irredentist by Greece.

In return, Greece will lift its EU veto and allow North Macedonia to join the union and NATO, once these constitutional changes are completed.

Critics of the deal in Greece are focusing on two main elements; the language and ethnicity of North Macedonia which they say represent major concessions by Athens.

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras admitted that the deal recognizes that FYROM citizens speak ‘Macedonian’ with a footnote in the form of clarification that it belongs to the South Slavic group of languages, having no relation to ancient Greek.

There are fears that sooner rather than later the whole world will forget the footnote and recognize that the country’s citizens speak ‘Macedonian’.

The same concerns have been aired about the ‘Macedonian’ ethnicity recognized in the agreement. Although a footnote specifies that all documents will describe citizens’ ethnicity as ‘Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia’, the disappearance of the clarification is a matter of time.