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Most Macedonians Back ‘Name’ Deal

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

A majority of Macedonian citizens would support a compromise solution to the long-standing ‘name’ dispute with Greece, if that aids the country’s Euro-Atlantic prospects, a survey has shown.

Some 61 per cent of Macedonians support a solution to the dispute with Greece over their country’s name, if it speeds up Macedonia’s entry into NATO and the EU, a survey by the Skopje-based Institute for Democracy – Societas Civilis, a think tank, shows.

The survey showed that 33 per cent of respondents were categorically against making any compromises with Greece over Macedonia’s name, while 4 per cent said they were somewhat against a name change.

The opinion poll shows that the dominant ethnic Macedonians are less inclined towards a solution than members of the large ethnic Albanian minority.

However, even among ethnic Macedonians, who have stronger emotional ties to the country’s name, 50 per cent would either completely or somewhat support a solution to the decades-old dispute with the neighbouring country.

But 42 per cent of ethnic Macedonians said they were categorically against a “name” deal.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of just over 2 million, are much keener on a solution. Some 82 per cent of them backed a solution to the dispute, while just 1 per cent were against.

The opinion poll also showed the political affiliations of the respondents.

Some 60 per cent of those who said they had voted for the opposition right-wing VMRO DPMNE party opted against a deal, while 33 per cent of this party’s supporters backed a compromise.

On the other hand, 76 per cent of the people who said they had supported the ruling Social Democrats said they would also support a deal with Greece, while 18 per cent were against.

Of the total number of respondents, 34 per cent think that if Macedonia changes its name to satisfy Greece, it could lead to a complete change of their Macedonian identity as well.

Another 19 per cent said they think that their identity will be changed – but only to a certain extent.

Fears about identity loss are most pronounced among ethnic Macedonians, 60 per cent of whom think that a name change would jeopardize their identity, while 35 per cent think otherwise.

The opinion poll was carried out between January 19-26 via phone by the M Prospect agency on a representative sample of 1,000 respondents.

The survey comes as Macedonia and Greece engage in intensive reinvigorated UN-sponsored talks that, if successful, should result in Greece lifting its blockade on Macedonia’s entry to NATO and to the start of EU accession talks.

The dispute centres on Greece’s insistence that use of the word Macedonia implies a territorial claim to the northern Greek province of the same name.

Athens insists that a new name must be found that makes a clear distinction between the Greek province and the country.

As a result of the unresolved dispute, in 2008, Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO membership It has also blocked the start of Macedonia’s EU accession talks, despite several positive annual reports from the European Commission on the country’s progress.


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Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

2 thoughts on “Most Macedonians Back ‘Name’ Deal

  • February 6, 2018 at 10:43 am
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    There will be zero tolerance with FYROM. If Zaev wanted to mend relations with Greece he would have announced the demolition of the grotesque Italian made Hellenic reproduction statues that litter the FYROM landscape, the renaming of the airport in Skopje, the renaming of the highway, the renaming of the football stadium, the removal of the repulsive Baroque Hellenic style facades, the correcting of school carriculum, the removal of the Hellenic symbol on the national flag, the removal of all greater Macedonia maps from government institutions and a heartfelt apology to the nation of Greece for his nation being vile for the last two and a half decades. Cultural theft cannot be forgiven easily. Actions speak louder than words. Greeks do not want to hear politicians trying new age diplomacy that they learnt in their political science classes. Dimitrov, Šekerinska, Zaevand all the Slavic Fyromians currently running FYROM are just as dogmatic about an exclusivity of the name as the Gruevski ultra nationalists. There is no scope for negotiation with these antiques. Greece is the victim here. Our history has been hijacked by Fyromian Slavs. Leave our history alone. It’s not a good fit for you. You cannot pronounce nor read the Ancient inscriptions for they are in Greek. If FYROM wants exclusivity to the name Macedonia they will have to change their official language to Greek for this corresponds with the Ancient Macedonian language. We Greeks embrace everyone as a Hellene as long as they speak Greek. You cannot have Bulgarian speaking Slavs of FYROM claiming they are Antiques. It’s ridiculous.
    Sekerinska can sit around bagging the VMRO for their crimes but she is just as bad. She claims she is a Slav and a non Antique and in the same breath attacks Greece for not recognizing FYROM. I thought that her hair incident would have knocked some sense into her. Dimitrov has also had a go at it. The fool was part of the negotiation team under Gruevski. He failed miserably because he too will never give up the name. These Slavs are like a dog with a bone but in their case the bone is plastic and has zero marrow.
    They know what they have to do and it will never happen. The constitutional name will not change because the antiquated population of FYROM will never vote for it. They have had way too many history lessons from Milenko Nedelkovski. The vile sneaky tactics of attempting to be admitted to NATO and the EU under their provisional FYROM name won’t work either. They are fruitless attempts at diplomacy that not only waste time but also soak up tax payers efforts. Think twice FYROM before attempting negotiations with the Greeks on their history. The Albanian, Roma and Turkish birth rate is twice that of the Slavs. While you lot are busy fixating about exclusivity of your name and your antique culture the non Slavic population of FYROM will become a majority group within their ancient wonderland. The last census was in 2001, these so called minority groups were are 35% collectively. I would hate to think what they are at now. 16 years of fertile breeding has to be worrying for the new government. Back off our history you deluded farm animals.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2018 at 8:10 pm
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    Those fears are also fuelled by FYROM’s official ideology, which presents all of Macedonia as one country with one legitimate, so to say, nation, the Macedonians. It represents a late mutation of the Komintern slogan of a “United and Independent Macedonia”, “United and Independent Thrace”, which crated a lot of huge problems, at its time, to the Greek communist movement. By the way the use of the word Macedonians to describe the dominant nationality in FYROM (our personal opinion is that the name Macedonian Slavs would be more clear), creates also serious problems, because it is implying that Greek, or Bulgarian, or Albanian Macedonians are not genuine Macedonians. But Macedonia in the wider sense was always a multinational region and it was for that reason French have named their famous salad Macedonian. They did it because it is made of many nationalities, exactly as Macedonia was inhabited by many nationalities.

    Reply

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