FAQs: What is the rightful name of Republic of Macedonia?

What is the rightful name of the Republic of Macedonia?

  • The Republic of Macedonia rejects the name “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in favor of its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia,” as chosen by the Macedonian people and enshrined in their constitution. 
  • This is a position shared by 120 other nations, including the United States, which officially recognized the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name in 2004.  In addition to the United States, two other permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China also recognize the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.
  • Greece and the Republic of Macedonia have yet to reach a mutually acceptable solution on this issue, although U.N.-mediated negotiations continue.  
  • The Republic of Macedonia has always taken the position that it does not hold exclusive rights over the name Macedonia in geographic, cultural, historic, or commercial terms.  
  • One country does not have the right to dictate to another country what it can call itself.  The Republic of Macedonia earned the right to self-determination when it declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. 

Does the Republic of Macedonia want to absorb a territorial region of Greece?

  • Greece and the Republic of Macedonia both include areas of the historic geographic region of Macedonia; Greece is or was purportedly concerned that the Republic of Macedonia has irredentist ambitions against Greece’s region of Macedonia. 
  • In 1995, Macedonia reinforced the “no-change” of borders provision of its Constitution adding that it shall “have no territorial claim against neighboring states.”
  • A small, developing, multi-ethnic democracy with only 2 million people could not and will not take over land that belongs to Greece, a large, established country of over 10 million people.  Furthermore, Macedonia wants only peace with its neighbor.   

Do Macedonian textbooks claim that their country should extend into Greece?

  • There have been reports that a MacedonianMilitaryAcademy textbook contains maps showing that a “Greater Macedonia” extends many miles south into Greece to MountOlympus and miles east to MountPirin in Bulgaria.  
  • The book in question is no longer in use in the academy, and the maps that H. Res. 356 refers to were originally drawn in the 1800s by non-Macedonians.  Furthermore, such maps depict the entire historic geographic scope of Macedonia and are presented in a historical context, not in a current or “irredentist” light.
  • The textbooks used in the general educational system in the Republic of Macedonia do not contain any maps of this kind and any claims to the contrary are simply false. 

Does the Republic of Macedonia promote ‘hostile activity’ against Greece?

  • The use of the phrase “hostile activity” is not only inappropriate but antagonistic towards the Republic of Macedonia.  As the only former Yugoslav country to peacefully establish independence in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia has constantly met terms while working with the United States, NATO and the European Union and their actions have been contrary toward “hostile activity.” 
  • History books are many times re-written to tell a current story, where history books should be reporting history as it was.  In the 1900s, maps of Macedonia showed the northern region of Greece and the current Republic of Macedonia on the map as one.  As an image, that is neither propaganda nor a hostile activity, because it is simply the region as it existed at that time. 

What is the Interim Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece?

  • The UN-brokered Interim Agreement forced upon the Republic of Macedonia in 1995 as an end to the Greek Embargo achieved several Greek aims including:
  1. a tentative reference term for the Republic of Macedonia at the UN and within certain international bodies, and
  2. new national symbols for the Republic of Macedonia unrelated to the historic Macedonian reality. 
  3. Amendments to the Republic of Macedonia’s Constitution reinforcing the “no-change” of borders provision contained therein without a corresponding amendment to the Constitution of Greece. 
  • However, throughout this humiliation, Macedonia has revealed itself as more than willing to compromise by proposing a resolution to the “name dispute.”
  • Notwithstanding the Republic of Macedonia’s efforts and the concessions it has already made, Greece continues to incredulously refer to Macedonian “intransigence” on the purported “name issue.
  • Contrary to Greek claims, the Interim Agreement did not change the Republic of Macedonia’s name, but only required that a tentative reference term be used for the Republic of Macedonia at the UN and within certain international bodies.
  • Despite provisions of the Interim Agreement barring Greece from opposing the Republic of Macedonia’s accession to the EU and NATO under the provisional reference term allowed by such agreement, Greece is threatening to veto the Republic of Macedonia’s EU and NATO accessions even with the Republic of Macedonia being admitted to such bodies under the provisional reference term.

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