Home > Uncategorized > Hope for Some Movement on Macedonia Name Issue?

Hope for Some Movement on Macedonia Name Issue?

UN Special Envoy for the Macedonia Naming Issue, Matthew Nimitz, will visit Skopje on February 23.

The Macedonian Foreign Ministry announced earlier this week that Nimitz accepted the dates proposed by the Macedonian government in an effort to resolve the 19-year long dispute over the use of the name Macedonia.

Greece believes that the name of the Republic of Macedonia implies territorial claims of its own northern province of the same name. Frankly, this is something of a stretch in my eyes.

Thanks to Greece’s intense lobbying, the European Union in December 2009 postponed a decision on opening accession talks with Macedonia, citing the unresolved naming issue as the reason.

During a debate today in the European Parliament on EU enlargement, the accession process of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was also complemented, although Spain’s EU Minister Diego Lopez Garrida told MEPs that the dispute with Greece over the country’s name was still “rumbling on”.

Greece’s attitude to FYR Macedonia’s name was described as “comical” by British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock, a view that was criticized by Greek Cypriot MEP Ioannis Kasoulides.

The Greek government has said they will veto any attempt by the Macedonian government to accede to the EU as long as they wish to be known as the “Republic of Macedonia”.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar said there were expectations in the EU that the name dispute could be solved by the end of June, but gave no details.

In 2008, Greece prevented Skopje from entering NATO over the same dispute.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki recently proposed that Macedonia and Greece open embassies on each other’s territory and that a new border crossing between them be opened to make travel easier. He said he would also propose the two states sign an accord preventing double taxation as a sign of Macedonian support to Greece, which faces debt and deficit problems.

An American diplomat with impeccable credential, Nimitz last visited the region in the fall of 2009, but left with no substantial results.

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