Macedonia to Join NATO:
- Macedonia has signed accession papers with NATO
- The signing of accession papers allows Macedonia to take part in NATO ministerial meetings as an invitee.
- To acquire full membership, all 29 current members must ratify the accession protocol.
- The conflict over the name with Greece had become a damper in its membership to NATO.
- With the conflict with Greece taken to logical end with the conclusion of Prespa Agreement, Macedonia has signed accession papers with NATO.
Russia Raises Concerns
- Russia has raised concerns against Macedonia becoming part of NATO. Russia has accused NATO of destabilising the Balkans by pushing Macedonia and Montenegro to join NATO.
- Russia sees Balkan nations as its sphere of influence and is against NATO or any other body led by US or EU making inroads to these Balkan countries. NATO’s membership provides a guarantee of mutual defence, provides a welcome insurance policy against possible incursions.
- Russia perceives this as an attempt by the west to contain it by making inroads to the areas which Russia considers its sphere of influence.
Dispute between Macedonia and Greece
- The use of the name “Macedonia” was disputed between the European countries of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, formerly a state within Yugoslavia.
- After the declaration of independence of Macedonia from erstwhile Yugoslavia, the country named it as the Republic of Macedonia.
- The dispute was mainly due to the ambiguity in nomenclature between the Republic of Macedonia, the adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia.
- Greece opposed the use of the name “Macedonia” by the Republic of Macedonia without a geographical qualifier such as “Northern Macedonia.
- Greece accused the Republic of Macedonia of appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered part of Greek culture such as the Vergina Sun and Alexander the Great, and of promoting the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia, which involves territorial claims on Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.
- Due to the conflict over the name, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s attempt to join Nato in 2008 and even blocked its EU membership ambitions.
- The opposition of Greece was so fierce that the United Nations was forced to refer Macedonia as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Prespa Agreement with Greece
- After a lot of negotiations, an agreement was reached between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev.
- The agreement is famously referred to as the Prespa Agreement.
- As per the agreement the Republic of Macedonia would be renamed as the Republic of North Macedonia.
- The language of the country would be referred to as Macedonian and its people known as Macedonians (citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia).
- The Parliament of Macedonia has passed the resolution to amend the constitution of the country to rename it as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
- The opposition parties had boycotted the vote and the proposal narrowly got the two-thirds majority vote required for the constitutional amendment.