UMD Statement on Greek Parliament Ratification of the Prespa Agreement

The Greek parliament yesterday voted in favor, 153 to 146, of the highly flawed Prespa Agreement, which Macedonia’s misguided leadership hopes will end the 26-year-UN temporary reference, and will allegedly fast track the country’s membership into NATO and the EU.

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), a leading organization promoting the interests and needs of Macedonians, has grave concerns about this accord and its inherent violations of Macedonia’s right to self-determination, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the historical whitewashing of Greece’s systematic cleansing of all that is Macedonian – all for the unsubstantiated possibility of NATO and EU membership.

UMD has been a strong proponent of Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic future, however, not under any other name but that chosen by its people, the Republic of Macedonia. UMD will continue to use the Republic of Macedonia as its official reference and will advocate for all 140 countries that recognized Macedonia under its rightful name to continue to do so regardless of the Prespa Agreement.

UMD believes Greece should have been Macedonia’s first and foremost champion when the country declared sovereign independence in 1991, instead it choose to block and harm Macedonia’s future and placed detrimental economic sanctions – the effects of which are still felt today.

UMD notes that although the Prespa Agreement is seriously flawed and unconstitutional, yesterday’s Greek parliamentary debate was historic, in that Greek elites debated the very existence of the Macedonian people and the Macedonian language. It witnessed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledgement of Greece’s 1983 revocation of 70,000 Macedonian children refugees, from the 1946 Greek Civil War, to return home, the Macedonian ABECADAR alphabet booklet for the children distributed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the execution of the first woman during the War, the Macedonian freedom fighter Mirka Ginova.

UMD hopes this debate will inspire a just change to Greece’s irrational policy of denying the existence of the Macedonian minority in Greece and the birthright to implement Macedonian language study for those of Macedonian heritage. UMD notes, with great disappointment, that the burning of the Macedonian flag during last night’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn protests in Athens, is not a positive indicator of Greece’s respect for its neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia, nor its minority Macedonian citizens.

The Western democratic community heralding the ratification of Prespa Agreement may be premature, as Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek opposition leader and possibly Greece’s next Prime Minister, has pledged to block Macedonia’s future EU path. This only proves the serious shortcomings of the Prespa Agreement, for it provides no concrete guarantees to Macedonia.

Therefore, regardless of the outcome of the Prespa Agreement, UMD urges Macedonia’s leadership, of all political parties, to triple their efforts to resolve many of Macedonia’s domestic challenges, including unemployment, nepotism and corruption among government and public administration, massive exodus of its population, and the alarming air pollution problem. The Macedonian people deserve nothing less. The upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, will judge them harshly for their folly.