In brief

Macedonia officially becomes “Republic of North Macedonia”, closes 25 year-old dispute with Greece

Change unlocks former Yugoslav republic’s bid to join NATO

North Macedonia government website includes new name.
North Macedonia government website includes new name. Author: screenshot
The government of the former Republic of Macedonia has announced that, as of February 12, the country is officially called “Republic of North Macedonia”, a name that is now contained in the Constitution. The change follows an agreement between the former Yugoslav republic and Greece to resolve their dispute over the name “Macedonia”, which had been dragging along for more than 25 years.

The new name is now used on the website of the North Macedonian government. Authorities have also begun replacing signs in some buildings, while they have announced that the same will be done on the roads.

Greece claimed that the previous name, “Republic of Macedonia”, implied territorial claims over the northern Greek region also called “Macedonia”. The Greek government’s starting point was to force its northern neighbour to stop using the name “Macedonia” at all, but this was never accepted by Skopje. A compromise solution was adopted in 2018 to add a geographic specification (“North”) to the country’s name.

As a result of the deal, Greece has unblocked the former Yugoslav country’s bid to join NATO. The members of the military alliance have just signed the letter of access of North Macedonia, which will become a full member before the end of 2019, or 2020 at the latest.

Russia has blamed NATO for seeking to destabilize the Balkans region with the alliance’s expansionist policy towards the region —in 2017 another Balkan country, Montenegro joined it, a move that was opposed by Moscow too.