ISSN 2330-717X

Macedonians Protest Name Change, PM Offers Greece Four Options


(RFE/RL) — Several thousand Macedonians have taken to the streets in the capital, Skopje, to protest against a possible change of their country’s name, as required by Greece to end a long-running dispute.

Defying freezing temperatures and snow on February 27, the protesters, organized by a network of several civic associations, held umbrellas in the colors of the Macedonian flag and chanted “Long live Macedonia!” and “Macedonians!”

The protesters demanded an end to ongoing talks between the Macedonian and Greek governments aimed at resolving the decades-long dispute.

The former Yugoslav republic has been holding extensive talks with neighboring Greece in recent months in an effort to resolve the dispute over the name Macedonia, which Greeks say implies territorial claims to a northern region of Greece.

The protest was organized by the World Macedonian Congress and several other Macedonian associations.

They accused the government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and the main opposition nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party of betraying Macedonia’s national interests.

Political parties, including the VMRO-DPMNE, said they had nothing to do with the protest.

Zaev earlier said he had offered four options to Greece in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Zaev said in an interview with Reuters in London on February 27 that he had suggested to Greek officials that Macedonia officially be called one of the following: the Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia, or the Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).

The name issue has greatly hindered Skopje’s efforts to gain entry to the European Union and NATO, the latter of which has been blocked by Greece.

Zaev said that Greece had some “more preferred options and some not so preferred options [in terms of the name],” but was satisfied with the options he has proposed.

He said one remaining question was whether there is “a real need” to change the Macedonian Constitution, as Greece also objects to a few articles of it that it says could also imply a claim to Greek territory.

Zaev said Macedonians were “prepared to do a change [of the constitution]” but added that it would be “very difficult.”

The Greek and Macedonian foreign ministers are to hold talks on the issue in March, and Zaev also plans to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that month.

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One thought on “Macedonians Protest Name Change, PM Offers Greece Four Options

  • February 28, 2018 at 9:13 am

    It all started with the uneducated goat herder writing poetry about his village. Georgi Pulevski claimed that he was a direct decendent of Alexander the Great. I tend to think he was a decendent of Alexander the Goat. Like Ljubčo Georgievski he had an about face and claimed to be Bulgarian. In fact he stated he regretted not being able to execute the unification of Bulgaria and Ottoman Macedonia. Antiquization was replaced by a pan Slavic united Bulgaria. Georgi Pulevski went from being a goat herder to a stonemason to a founder of Macedonism to a Bulgaphile upon his death. Goergievski and Pulevski are similar in this regard. They both renounced their new found religion and came to their senses. With the death of the uneducated stonemason the Bulgarians of Vardar Macedonia were cured until the unimaginable happened – TITO. A half caste Croat/Slovene redefines the Bulgarians of Vardar Banovina as Macedonians. The Diaspora left their little villages with a suitcase and a story. Tito’s story. Just when it couldn’t get any worse Todov and his deluded intellectuals addicted to Pulevski poetry brainwash their population. FYROM is born. Gruevski is the second coming of Pulevski.
    The ethnic Bulgarian will always be the ethnic Bulgarian. The ethnic Greek will always be an ethnic Greek. Language defines both of us. The Antiquization story is flawed. This why FYROM today has failed. Let’s not nation build on an uneducated stonemason. Read his work as a literary piece rather than a historical piece. Be proud of your Bulgarian ethnicity and don’t allow historical distortions. You are what you speak and the FYROMIAN Slavs speak Bulgarian.


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