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I HAVE THE SOLUTION TO THE MACEDONIA NAME PROBLEM!
The problem may seem intractable: the current FYROM wants to be called Macedonia, Greece wants it not to be called Macedonia, and that is that.
No, not necessarily!
My solution, as effective as it is inspired, and as realistic as it is elegant, is to rename the current FYROM as -- get ready --
"The Magnificent And Celestial Eternal Democracy Of Northern Inland Areas."
This name, as you will notice, does not include anything like "Macedonia."
BUT! Just as the current Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is known by the acronym FYROM, as as the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was known by the acronym USSR, and as the United States of America is known by the acronym USA, and as the United Kingdom is known by the acronym UK, so the Magnificent And Celestial Eternal Democracy Of Northern Inland Areas, following this common international naming convention, would be known by the acronym MACEDONIA.
Thus the current FYROM would be satisfied, because it could have the name MACEDONIA, and Greece would be satisfied, because the current FYROM would not even have "Macedonia" as part of its name.
I can not refrain from saying that this seems to me the most brilliant diplomatic initiative since the Congress of Vienna.
I'll be waiting for that call from Stockholm.
I recall reading in this publication a letter to the editor from the early 1990s. The letter was written to the editor of the time over an article regarding Greece's opposition to FYROM's accession to the United Nations. Of particular irritation to Greece was that a UN General Assembly name plaque simply bearing the name of "Macedonia" would be a misrepresentation of the true "Macedonia," the Greek region mentioned in this article.
The writer of this letter to the editor, whose name I cannot recall, wrote something to this effect in the text of his letter: "We can change the name [of Macedonia] to the 'Fomer Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' once we have changed the name of Greece to the 'Former Ottoman Republic of Greece.'"
Historical arguments aside. FYRoM has named itself (unilaterally) after whole geographic region. The only one in the whole world to do it, at country name level, sovereign state-name level, nationality level, language level, and ethnicity level. So it is wrong on many levels. But the obvious wrong is this one – FYRoM constitutes just 38% of geographic region of Macedonia. It is irrational for 38% to name itself (unilaterally) after the name of a whole region.
Names do not constitute a claim in themselves. They make a statement. FYRoM (unilaterally) naming itself 'Republic of Macedonia' is making many bold statement it cannot possibly live up to.
Baring Canada, the only other example in the world I can think of, that gets close to what FYRoM has done is South Africa. But there, there are no people-groups using ‘South African’ for ethnic identity. And there is no language called South African language. Most important, there are no objections. No native autochthonous people-groups exist close by, to contest country name South Africa, or nationality South African.
Propaganda arguments aside. I think the citizens of FYRoM are so much more informed today. I think rational people there can see the problem that has been created. I also think that the peoples of FYRoM now appreciate the importance Europeans place on their People-Names, Place-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy.
These cultural endowments above are (very) important to Europeans. More important to the people-groups that created (originated) them in the first place. Pretenders to these cultural endowments should be concerned.
FYRoM has right to name itself by any name they like...the international community though, has right to judge them on that choice. Macedonia is bad choice of name for recently established Slavic country - Hence, FYRoM is judged on bad choice of country-name. Names can be adopted but identities are inherited, an endowment, passed on from one generation to the next on. FYRoM South-Slavs did not inherit the Macedonian name and national identity must reflect faithfully the peoples parent-ethnicity.
In FYRoM, the leading majority people-group are Slavic in language, culture, tradition, and heritage. The Macedonian-name they covet for country-name...sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity does not bode well for South-Slavic people group historically. The Slavic-tribes that settled the Haemus peninsula at 6th Century AD, never came in as Macedonians, they never used the Macedonian-name for self-identity or tribal-identity.
For the Greeks, the Macedonian-name is not something to be negotiated away. For Greeks, the Macedonian name remains (ancient) regional-tribal name, applicable to Northern-Greeks - Macedonians are a regional historical people-group of ethnic-Greek stock. FYRoM must recognize Macedon as a Greek region and Macedonians as a Greek-speaking Hellenic-peoples, before demanding self-determination rights based on the Macedonian name.
If the name dispute between FYRoM and Greece has taught us anything at all, it is this...People-Names. Place-Names. Identity. History. Heritage. Legacy, matter very much to Europeans.
It needs checking but if international law permits new emerging countries to name themselves after whole geographic regions, then that specific law is an a$$. It needs to be revised and amended in such a way as to inhibit pretender states like FYRoM from taking advantage.
If such law does really exist, it is trumped by this example: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the...
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/61/295)
Imagine this scenario...
Bavarians have UN recognized rights to keep as German as possible, the identity-characteristics of their ancient Germanic ancestors. Non Germans using ‘Republic of Bavaria’ for country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity would be challenged at (i) political level, (ii) diplomatic level, (iii) academic level. Which is exactly what Greeks do with Macedonia.
The Greek position is [[principled][moral]] clear – FYRoM cannot take the name of whole geographic region of Macedonia to levels of country-name…sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity, because FYRoM constitutes just 38% of the region. Greece constitutes 51%. Bulgaria holds smallest part 11%.
FYRoM taking unilateral action to name itself ‘Republic of Macedonia’ infringes on the rights of Macedonians wanting to keep as Greek possible, the identity-characteristics of their paleo-Hellenic ancestors.
International Law cannot support two John Smiths contesting exact same People-Names. Place-Names. Identity. History. Heritage. Legacy. One of them is being insincere, disingenuous and dishonest in their claim(s).
Identity. Deriving identity from territory name is doable. But it has it's limitations. Deriving identity from neighbouring peoples forebears is quirky. Unheard of. FYRoM is first in the world to do it.
Naming. Aside from territory name rights. FYRoM’s Slavic identity narrows self-determination direction to Slavic paternal ethnicity. Explanation: FYRoM’s immediate forebears were the medieval Slavic tribes of Baiounitai, Belegezites, Berziti, Draguvites, Rynchines, Sagudates, Smolyani. These medieval Slavic tribes did not mix with ancient Macedonians. There were no ancient Macedonians during this time. Just (Byzantine) Greco-Romans. Romioi. Slavs called them Rimyani, meaning Romans.
Choices. Hence, the choices for ‘identity name’ (People-Name) is restricted. Selection is reduced to Slavic names. Why? Because FYRoM cannot leapfrog back in time, to a pre-Slavic history, in order to choose identity name. It is quirky and unethical to name yourself after a people-group your Slavic forebears had no knowledge of.
Timing. Ancient-Macedonians did not meet Slavs. Incoming (early medieval) Slavic settlers interacted with Byzantine Greco-Romans, not ancient Macedonians. Hellenic regional-tribal names, http://my.raex.com/~obsidia…
Macedonian, Spartan, Athenian, Thessalian, Corinthian, Ionnians, Thesprotians, merged into one Greco-Roman supranational identity – Romioi, meaning Roman.
Posture. It is pretentious on the part of FYRoM to choose (ancient) ‘People-Name’ their Slavic ancestors had no knowledge of. Hence, FYRoM’s People-Name must reflect faithfully, paternal ethnicity. A Slavic forebears name, for example.
Validity. FYRoM’s choice of country name rest’s solely on territory name. On this, FYRoM has (Pelagonia) small claim. To put into perspective, FYRoM’s right to the Macedonian name rest’s soley on ‘latin-Roman’ (nomenclature) naming conventions and sitting on slither of ancient-Macedon soil. Enough to validate a claim. On that, FYRoM elevates territory name to levels of (i) country-name, (ii) sovereign state-name, (iii) nationality name, (iv) language name, (v) ethnicity name.
Conclusion: I think we can all see the line of travel in FYRoM’s thinking.
Scandinavia is a geographic region. But there is no country called ‘Republic of Scandinavia’. There is no language called Scandinavian-language. And there are no ethnic-Scandinavians claiming self-determination rights.
Iberia is a geographic region. But there is no country called ‘Republic of Iberia’. There is no language called Iberian-language. And there are no ethnic-Iberians claiming self-determination rights.
Baltic Rim is geographic region. But there is no country called ‘Republic of Baltic Rim’. There is no language called Baltic-language. And there are no ethnic-Baltics claiming self-determination rights.
Carpathia region. There is no country called ‘Republic of Carpathia. No language called Carpathian-language. No ethnic-Carpathians claiming self-determination rights.
Macedonia is geographic region. FYRoM covets the name. That is why FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to call itself ‘Republic of Macedonia’. Without consultations. And without the consent of the regions native autochthonous people-groups. For me, it’s crude uncouth uncivilized unneighbourly action. An indication of desire, that whole geographic region of Macedonia belongs to Republic of Macedonia. It simply sends out wrong message. I see it like this…
If you name yourself after whole geographic region you are (in fact) making bold statement – many bold statements, in fact!
1- I (unilaterally) stake claim to whole region
2- I reserve the right to stake claim to whole region at some future date
3-The region is named after my forebears
4-The Place-Name describes my paternal ancestors tribal name
5- I claim historical rights and cultural-heritage rights of the whole region
6- I relegate downwards, the self-determination rights of other regional contenders
7- I claim all cultural endowments gifted from geographic region name
8- I reserve the right to write and rewrite historical narrative of whole geographic region
9- I reserve the right to raise monuments in the name of geographic regions powerful figureheads
By naming yourself after whole whole geographic region, FYRoM is (unilaterally) making bold statement(s) it cannot possibly live up to. Regardless the ramifications and consequences of their actions.
FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to name itself after the whole geographic region of Macedonia. Without the consent of the regions native autochthonous inhabitants.
FYRoM sits on 38% of geographic region of Macedonia. But chose (unilaterally) to name itself after the whole.
The geographic region of Macedonian comprises of Greece 51% – FYRoM 38% – Bulgaria 11%. It is irrational for 38% to (unilaterally) claim the name of the whole.
FYRoM uses the name of ancient-Greek kingdom for country name...sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity without the consent of the Greeks. FYRoM cannot justify applying ancient-Greek regional-tribal name to a land and peoples that do not connect to Macedon or Macedonians culturally, historically or geographically. The rights of FYRoM do not transcend the rights of Macedonians wanting to keep as Greek as possible, the identity-characteristics of their regional-historical Paleo-Hellenic ancestors. People-Names and Place-Names form important identity factors. More important to the people-groups who created (originated) them in the first place.
Names can be adopted. But not identity. Identity is inherited, an endowment passed down the generations. Identity belongs to those who formed it in the first place. Hence, identity is not transferable. Example: Macedonian identity was cast in the Hellenic mold millennia ago. It belongs to the ancient (Dorian) Greeks who formed it in the first place. People-names and Place-names belong to the people-groups who created them in the first place. This is the reference point. From here we can see where FYRoM went wrong. Basing it's existence (as newly established country) on the name of an ancient Greek kingdom.
Modern Nation States are political constructs. Born from the destruction (ashes) of defunct, dismantled (obsolete) Empires. Nations can accommodate more than one ethnicity. Nations can form naturally - politically. In the case of FYRoM, I think here we talk more about Socially engineered Nation. Manipulated into existence (1991). In FYRoM live socially engineered slavophones. Manipulated to think of themselves as 'Macedonians'and ancient-Macedonians as Slavs. It is impossible to get any of them to accept Hellenic origin of Macedon. Or Greek identity of Macedonians.
Like all nations of the world, the Hellenic Republic has right to protect the country's national history and heritage. Greek governments are morally and legally obliged to do that. So Greece fights for Macedonian rights, to keep as Greek as possible, the identity-characteristics of their regional-historical Paleo-Haemus Hellenic ancestors. The UN recognizes the rights of indigenous populations to keep as close as possible the identity-characteristics of their ancestors. So where does that leave FYRoM?
Two John Smiths could live in peace, side by side, next door to each other but if one John Smith decides to take on the identity of the other John Smith, that would be called identity theft. Welcome to the name dispute between FYRoM and Greece, ongoing dispute for more than a generation. Still unresolved!
I see it like this - Two John Smiths could live in peace, side by side, next door to each other but if one John Smith decides to paint his house, adorn fixtures and fittings the same as the other John Smiths house, whilst at the same time claiming his lineage and taking on his identity. What should the first John Smith do about it?
I think what Greece is doing - Defending, Protecting the Hellenic Republics People-Names, Place-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy, is about right. The right approach towards FYRoM's anti-Hellenic antics.
Lest we forget - Names can be adopted but not identities, identities are inherited, (endowments received) passed-on, from one ethno-cultural generation to the next one.
Lest we forget - Macedonian identity is deeply rooted in Hellenism from since the days of King Karanus 808-778 BC. Macedonians are the Greeks who continue to practice (native) autochthonous self-determination right(s) in the tradition of their Paleo-Hellenic ancestors.
Lets not indulge FYRoM any more. Because...
1- FYRoM is not Macedon – It is Paeonia, and then Dardania north from Skopje.
2- FYRoM language is not Macedonian language – It is Serbo-Bulgarian hybrid concoction…renamed.
3- FYRoM inhabitants are not Macedonian – They are (Yugo) South-Slavs...with desire's.
Lest we forget – Macedon is historical region of Northern-Greece, and Macedonians, a regional-historical people-group of ethnic-Greek stock. FYRoM does not connect to this place historically, culturally, linguistically.
FYRoM deserves a place in Europe, but not as Macedonia…Why ? Because neither the place nor the peoples connect to Macedon or Macedonians in any meaningful [[Native][Hellenic]] way. The long running name dispute between FYRoM and Greece resolves when the former acknowledges the latter’s rights. Observing and conforming to Western world’s cultural-historical (mainstream) narrative – in that narrative, Macedonians are scripted in, as a Greek-speaking Hellenic-peoples. Consistent and compatible. And totally in synchronicity to other peoples histories.
Supplementary to all the pseudo-historical arguments, FYRoM is unique in the world for naming itself (unilaterally) after whole geographic region. This action can be construed as being unfriendly unneighbourly act. Because...
Scandinavia is a geographic region. But there is no country called 'Republic of Scandinavia'. There is no language called Scandinavian-language. And there are no ethnic-Scandinavians claiming self-determination rights.
Iberia is a geographic region. But there is no country called 'Republic of Iberia'. There is no language called Iberian-language. And there are no ethnic-Iberians claiming self-determination rights.
Baltic Rim is geographic region. But there is no country called 'Republic of Baltic Rim'. There is no language called Baltic-language. And there are no ethnic-Baltics claiming self-determination rights.
Carpathia region. There is no country called 'Republic of Carpathia. No language called Carpathian-language. No ethnic-Carpathians claiming self-determination rights.
Macedonia is geographic region. FYRoM covets the name. That is why FYRoM (unilaterally) chose to call itself 'Republic of Macedonia'. Without consultation(s). And without the consent of the regions native autochthonous people-groups.
It's a very crude uncivilized unneighbourly unfriendly action. An indication that (at some stage) the whole geographic region of Macedonia belongs to Republic of Macedonia.
People-Names. Place-Names. Identity. History. Heritage. Legacy. These things are important to Europeans. More important to the people-groups who created them in the first place. On this basis, Greece holds the moral ethical high ground in the long running name-dispute debacle with FYRoM.
Today's Northern-Greeks are the closest living modern humans to ancient Macedonians. Continuity always follows path of least resistance. Today's Macedonians have right to keep as Greek as possible the identity characteristics of their paleo-Hellenic ancestors. Greek identity on Macedonians is natural. Formed naturally in Hellenic collective. Macedonians were just one of >230 known, Greek (Hellenic) groups tribes and kingdoms. As long as Macedonians exist, walking and talking like Greeks...No other Macedonians can exist alongside them claiming their identity.
Macedonian identity on FYRoM South-Slavs is recent phenomenon. It exists courtesy of adopted latin-Roman name their forebears had no knowledge of. FYRoM self-determination right(s) are based on latin-Roman naming conventions. They chose to leapfrog themselves back in history, to pre-Slavic times, in order to choose their country name. This is how they derive People-Name 'Macedonian' and Place-Name 'Macedonia'. In this way, they absolve themselves from naming-dispute with Greeks over 'Macedon' the name ancient-Greeks used for their Kingdom. On this basis, they use self-determination to identify as 'Macedonian' on (i) ethnic level, (ii) national level, and (iii) linguistic level. Because language-name generates ethnicity. Because country-name generates nationality.
The FYRoM language is named 'Macedonian language' - Ethnicity is generated from this move. But this language is Serbo-Bulgarian language. Just 5 letter's short from proper Bulgarian. Calling it Macedonian-language (1945) was political move to socially engineer new ethnicity. You cannot generate 'Macedonian ethnicity' from Serbo-Bulgarian language. Yet, this is what the FYRoM language is. A hybrid concoction of Serbian and Bulgarian - mixed!
Country name will generate nationality. FYRoM recognized like 'Macedonia' will generate Macedonian nationality.
Two clever moves to bring into existence a nation of non-Greek Macedonians. For Greeks it is anathema!
Realizing that FYRoM lost the historical debate, the goal post's have shifted. Apparently, it's not about history any more. They* have moved the goal post's. Who? FYRoM Protectionist's. Those who speak up for FYRoM. Defending FYRoM's right (as newly emergent country) to name itself the way it chooses,'Republic of Macedonia'. So one has to admire their protectionist instincts. Because defending FYRoM position is not easy. Why? Because FYRoM does something very unique in the world. Something no other country has done. Something that is indefensible and rather gratuitous. FYRoM has taken self determination right(s) to whole new level. How? By taking the name of (whole) geographic region to level(s) of (i) country-name, (ii) sovereign state-name, (iii) nationality, (iv) language, (v) ethnicity.
FYRoM constitutes just 38% of the geographic region of Macedonia. Greece holds 51%. Bulgaria holds smallest part 11%. It is irrational for 38% to name itself (unilaterally) after the whole. Hence, FYRoM Protectionist's cannot defend this position easily. They may argue, that Canada, USA, South Africa, Central African Republic, Sudan, and Australia chose to name themselves after a whole geographic regions. But those examples do not do what FYRoM does. They do not elevate geographic region name to level(s) of country-name, sovereign state-name, nationality, language and ethnicity. And they do not extract cultural historical endowments from the geography, the way FYRoM does. Hence, protecting FYRoM is not easy. Because FYRoM is the only country in the world to demand these things under the twin banner of human-rights and self-determination rights.
FYRoM spent 26 years competing with Greece over such things as Place-Names, People-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy. Believing it had Western rights and freedoms to do it. But FYRoM took those rights and freedoms to the extreme, forcing the UN, USA, EU, NATO and the international academic community to referee a name dispute that keeps FYRoM from entering Euro-Atlantic economic and security structures it says, it aspires to join. FYRoM cannot join the structures under 'Republic of Macedonia' name. Why? Because FYRoM constitutes just 38%
of the geographic region. It is irrational for 38% to (unilaterally) name itself after the whole.
I think after 26 years arguing with Greece, over things like Place-Names, People-Names, Identity, History, Heritage, Legacy, the discussion has matured. I think there is a realization in FYRoM now, that Greece has hierarchical rights, in addition to geographic regional rights, above and beyond those of FYRoM. No amount of protectionist help will break those walls down. FYRoM's protectionist's better serve this newly established country by issuing good sound advice - FYRoM cannot exist next to Greece under 'Republic of Macedonia' name.
The Economist staff have been shilling for UK foreign policy for years on this issue. In so doing the Economist staff have effectively been ethically harassing Greeks for years.
A. They dishonestly act like naming countries is some trivial issue. Names of countries are not some trivial matter. They are a source of identity and possibly territorial claims.
2. Rather than do the objective journalism they profess to represent... which would include mentioning "minor" details like the fact the UK itself refused to recognize the former Yugoslavians as "Macedonians" during the early cold war...or mentioning "minor" details like the former Yugoslavians used to self-identify as ethnic Bulgarian "Macedonians" prior to Tito... they dishonestly pretend they don't know? Why hide that the former Yugoslavians are effectively Bulgarians that renamed themselves "Macedonians if truth is their concern?
And rather than admit Greeks were right to object to recognition and apologize to Greeks... they unethically continue to blame Greeks for their own mistake of ridiculously recognizing Slav propagandists in a ancient Paeonia as "ethnic" Macedonians. Any Greek that objects to Skopian irredentism and their bizarre attempt to usurp Greek history.. they offensively frame as "natioanlists".
Not single staff member of the Economist would tolerate Skopje's behavior if it was France manipulating the name Britain to promote irredentism against The UK. Hypocrisy isn't an argument. Screw the Economist. The antihellenic bigots have no journalist integrity on this issue. It's far far more important for the modern Brits on its staff to hide their national mistake of calling the Slavs "ethnic" Macedonians than journalism.
Greeks like to be called many names, but have a name problem with their neighbors who got their name by the territory they live on and have only one name - Macedonia and Macedonians. Currently, there is only one ethnic group in the Balkans that call themselves Macedonians. Sorry, there are no Greek Macedonians, there are only Greeks, Albanians, Serbians, Bulgarians - and Macedonians! Yet, present day Greeks call themselves Hellenes and their state Ellada or the Hellenic Republic, while the whole world calls them Greece (or Javan in the Bible). In the Roman Empire they were Achaia and Epirus (although the Romans were the ones who named them Greeks). In the Bizantine Empire there was no mention of Greece or Ellada, so modern day Greek historians adopted Bizantine as their name during that period, and in the Ottoman empire for four centuries, present day Greece was called Rumelia. So, why a country with so many names would care about somebody using the name Macedonia? The answer to that question is the genocide of the Macedonians (the real, Slavic ones!) that took place on the territory of Northern Greece from 1913 to 1948 in order to totally change the population fabric of Macedonia in Northern Greece.
Although Greece claims that the Republic of Macedonia "stole" the name Macedonia from Greece, until 1987 there was no administrative region, city or province in Greece officially named Macedonia. Macedonia had an official name Peoples Republic of Macedonia since 1945, and later on as a Socialist Republic of Macedonia - Greece never objected to it. Why?. Because Greece gained its territory of Macedonia (Greek Macedonia) only in 1913, after the Balkan Wars. At that time this area had a very small Greek population compared to the other ethnic groups living on the same territory. To enhance the Greek element in the newly acquired territories, Greece made a treaty with Bulgaria and Turkey for a population exchange. In 1923 around one million Greeks from Turkey were brought to Northern Greece and
400 000 Turks were moved to Turkey. Since the original inhabitants of the newly acquired territory were naming themselves Macedonians, but didn't speak the Greek language, Greece undertook everything possible to expel them from this territory or to assimilate them into the Greek fabric. The genocide from 1913 to 1948 resulted in an exodus of approximately 400 000 people (Macedonians) to the Peoples Republic of Macedonia (Yugoslavia), Poland, Czech Republic and Russia. The ones who stayed in Greece were forced to change their names into Greek names, were forbidden to speak their language, and were not recognized as Macedonians, as an ethnic minority. It was hoped by the official Greek policy that they will vanish and that they will be melted into the official Greek melting pot. The Slavic names of the cities, towns, villages, rivers, mountains in Greek Macedonia were also changed into Greek names. A quick and dirty ethnic cleansing with a nice little project for a house refurbishment!
No official name Macedonia was in use in Greece till 1987, when it was imminent that Yugoslavia will disintegrate, and there was a possibility that a Republic of Macedonia will declare its independence. Greece decided to reintroduce the name Macedonia for its northern part and divided the region of North Greece into Central, West and East Macedonia, but no part of Greece was officially named Macedonia (without adjectives). They in fact lied to the whole world that they have a province with the same name as the Republic of Macedonia, portraying themselves as victims. Who were they threatened by? A small and landlocked country of 2 million people with virtually no army, compared to 10.3 million in Greece, a NATO member.
Greece has perpetuated this web of lies and blocked Macedonia since its independence and forced even its entry into the UN under the ridiculous "reference" (sorry, not a name!) FYROM and from establishing itself as a member of NATO and the EU. The hardline Greek policy has in fact created a wave of nationalism in the Republic of Macedonia which resulted in the rise of a populist and undemocratic regime, which was finally brought down after more than a decade in 2017. One hopes that finally this hypocritical and histrionic (nice little Greek words) policy will end. Let's face it - 137 countries have recognized Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia. Every single map that the Economist presents says Macedonia on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia - they got this right a long time ago. Will New or Northern prefix before Macedonia be sufficient this time around to satisfy the southern petulant neighbor?! Or another temper tantrum 'a la Trump' will ensue? Macedonians only aspire to occupy the Greek beaches during the summer, I hope nobody in Greece minds that. Time to wake up and smell the roses Greece, I say.
Wonder if the modern British on the Economists staff would recognize a breakaway region of western France as "Republic of England", a french dialect as English, the citizens as "ethnic" English.. as they claimed King Henry as one of their own... and used that claim to insinuate that 1/3 of the UK is being "occupied" by the modern British?
Any modern Brit on the Economist's staff that claims they wouldn't object and wouldn't have legitimate reason to be concerned... is as full of shit as the alleged "journalist"that wrote this garbage. Not the fault of Greeks masses of pretentious bigots lack the integrity to admit Greeks were right to object to recognition. Dishonerable populist that hide behind numbers. Racist cowards.
Macedonia's (the region not the country) history doesn't begin at the time of the Ottoman empire but in the ancient period at which time it was part of Greece.
This is a biased article that misrepresents the cause and effect of events leading to the long lasting stalemate between the two countries in regards to the naming issue.
As should be well-known, the region of historic Macedonia spans several countries including a substantial portion within Greece. Despite that, when Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991, the southernmost part of that Federation sought international recognition under the name “Republic of Macedonia”, claiming the name and identity of Macedonia exclusively for themselves, while at the same time promoting irredentism even within its constitution. Examples include the attempt to appropriate Greek symbols (such that the ‘Sun of Vergina’ found in the tomb of Phillip II within the modern day borders of Greece) and the publication of official maps incorporating Greek territories as part of a future “United Macedonia”.
While expressions of nationalism were abundant in both countries in the early ‘90s, Greek leaders have long accepted a solution to be reached, based on a compound name that includes the term “Macedonia” or a derivative of that term. As such, Greece recognizes that their northern neighbor has some claim to the term Macedonia, but not an exclusive one.
The reader should be aware that the name “FYROM” arose from Resolution 817/1993 of the UN Security Council as a mutually agreed but temporary solution to distinguish the former member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from three major administrative regions in northern Greece, namely Western Macedonia, Central Macedonia, and Eastern Macedonia. The latter three regions are part of the geocode standard developed by European Union and by far constitute the largest part of the geographical area of Macedonia.
FYROM’s accession to NATO was blocked in 2008 precisely because FYROM requested to join NATO as “Republic of Macedonia”, once again monopolizing a name that is well-rooted within the national consciousness and identity of Greeks. Months before the 2008 NATO summit, the then FYROM Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, had been photographed laying a wreath under a “United Macedonia” map, while days before the NATO summit posters appeared throughout the capital of FYROM, replacing the white cross on the Greek flag with the swastika, and depicting the Greek PM Karamanlis wearing a Nazi SS uniform.
A viable solution to the naming issue can be achieved only if both sides demonstrate respect for good neighbourly relations, sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is only possible provided that FYROM no longer insists on a name that encourages irredentism by claiming the entire historical identity of Macedonia for itself.
There are some points missing and some out of order:
(1) The article significantly fails to explain that the Republic of Macedonia took Greece to the International Court of Justice in the Hague over its vote in Bucharest and won (3+ years later). Source: http://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/142
(2) What most readers do not understand is that the act of joining the European Union requires about 72 unanimous votes of all of the European Union countries. They have to vote to start accession talks, and then open AND close each of 35 chapters (Source: https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/policy/conditions-members...) and then vote to admit the country. Greece could easily show goodwill by opening and closing some of these chapters considering the large number of unanimous votes which are required to complete the accession.
(3) The Macedonian Constitution was changed to reflect Greek concerns. I'm always amazed that articles about this issue never mention this -- as if Macedonia has never made any concessions on this issue. The flag, of course, was also changed.
(4) Approximately 2% of the territory in question (divided by the terms of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest) became part of what is now the Republic of Albania. Those lands contain an ethnic Macedonian minority that has varying success over the years in getting representation and recognition in Tirana.
The EU lost a good opportunity to sort out quite a few irregularities and disagreements when it allowed Greece and Cyprus to join so easily. Had their accession been handled better, there may well have been recognition of plain Macedonia rather than FYOM, Cyprus could have been reunified, at peace and not dependent on Russian mob money, Greece could have been obliged to prepare honest and realistic national accounts and statements of debts and borrowings, thereby avoiding or reducing the severity of its financial meltdown, and Turkey may well have been happily aligned with Europe and on the road to full membership while offering full EU sanctuary to the millions of Muslim refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria.
The situation reminds me of the old joke about Canada - land of lost opportunity. It could have had American technology, French culture and British administration. Instead poor Canada got British technology, French administration and American culture.
Why not? They can claim that as much as they want. The same with Greeks. Leave people alone with their claims of identity. This is their private thing unless they come and claim your home of course. Not sure if that is what Greeks are afraid of. Maybe. Most likely however they just need a small manageable enemy for internal politics. Pity that EU which is so righteous when it comes to protect interests of Mr Soros (his universities etc) as to interfere in private matters of member countries as if it were a federal government (which it is not) does not press Greece to stop being silly on the name of a foreign country. I guess we cannot expect any rationality there otherwise.