Prespa Deal Saga Moves to Greece

The future of the Prespa Agreement now rests with the Greek parliament after FYROM’s lawmakers took a decisive step to end one of Europe’s most intractable disputes.

On Friday, The FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev made an amendment to the constitution to change the country’s name to North Macedonia.

The country is now on course to be known as the Republic of North Macedonia after a series of constitutional amendments were approved by 81 votes in the 120-seat parliament, narrowly achieving the required two-thirds majority.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who congratulated his counterpart Zoran Zaev on the outcome of a parliamentary vote, now faces the task of convincing his parliament to also ratify the agreement to resolve a 27-year-old dispute.

He has vowed to bring the agreement up for ratification within 10 days after the completion of the parliamentary process in Skopje. “The Prespa agreement is a very significant step forward for stability, security, and co-operation in our region,” he said this week.

FYROM will start using the new name only after the Parliament in Athens also ratifies the agreement.

Tsipras will have to rely on the support of his junior partner in government, the nationalist Independent Greeks party (ANEL) to secure the 151 votes necessary in the 300-member parliament.

ANEL, whose leader Panos Kammenos is strongly opposed to the deal, is divided, with some MPs saying they will vote for the Prespa deal. In addition, some opposition MPs from centrist Potami, have also said they will support the deal.

This may give Tsipras the necessary majority and prevent his government from collapsing.