March 26, 2008
Will the NATO summit in Bucharest in April invite the (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia to join NATO, together with Albania and Croatia? The answer is ‘No’ unless Greece lifts its veto on the country joining NATO.
The strategic reason for the veto is that the dispute over its name should first be resolved. The country’s entry into the United Nations was delayed until 1995 and after the lifting of a complete economic embargo by Greece, under the name accepted by Greece, namely ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)’. Over 100 countries, including China, Russia and the US, have effectively recognized Macedonia as Macedonia.
Athens argues that ‘Macedonia’ is an exclusive part of its historic and cultural heritage and that FYROM, by using the name ‘Macedonia’ on its own stealing its history and perhaps even displaying territorial pretensions. The UN has proposed five possible names: Constitutional Republic of Macedonia, Democratic Republic of Macedonia, Independent Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia and Republic of New Macedonia.
The dispute may be difficult for us to understand, but emotions run high on both sides and, in recent weeks has given rise to a wave of nationalist hysteria in both Greece and ‘Macedonia’. This is after all the Balkans.
On the other hand, it is all the more disturbing that the potential stability of this accident prone region should be dependent on a nameAuthor : Stanley Crossick