UMD Expresses Disappointment Over “Northern Macedonia” Statement by EC Vice President Barrot

June 5, 2009, Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) today expressed strong disappointment towards the statement of European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, during which he referred to the Republic of Macedonia as “Northern Macedonia.” 

 

During a press conference over visa liberalization policies towards the western Balkans, Mr. Barrot began listing the states that would be affected by proposed changes to EU policy.  Among these states was “Northern Macedonia.” 

“It is puzzling to me that Mr. Barrot would mention the name of a non-existent entity during a discussion over visa liberalization policy.  One can only assume that he was in fact, referring to the Republic of Macedonia, and if so, then his utterance of a name proposed as a “solution” to the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia during an official function seriously undermines the impartiality of the European Union vis-à-vis the United Nations’-sponsored negotiations between Greece and Macedonia, and more importantly brings into question the European Union’s respect for the historic and democratically-confirmed name of the Republic of Macedonia,” said UMD president Metodija A. Koloski.

UMD expects clarification and an apology from Mr. Barrot for his misstatement.  Furthermore, UMD urges the Macedonian government to demand an explanation.

“Mr. Barrot’s statement is unfortunate and offensive to Macedonians worldwide.  While I sincerely hope that it was a simple mistake, he should publicly acknowledge his misstatement and apologize for it.  It is by virtue of these types of gaffes that diplomatic precedent is set.  As we are all aware with the current name dispute, once certain precedents are set, they are very difficult to undo,” added UMD Director of Policy Planning Boban Jovanovski.

The United Macedonian Diaspora firmly rejects any efforts by persons or entities to rename the Republic of Macedonia.  It is our view that the name of a nation state is an inextricable element of its sovereignty. 

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Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is the leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
 
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