After a quarter of a century of strenuous diplomatic relationships, finally a ray of light shines for Greece and its northern neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Nikola Dimitrov expressed his willingness to concede to Greece’s objections and accept a provisional name, in order for FYROM to join the NATO alliance.
“Hopefully political forces in Greece will realise this is a historic opportunity,” Mr Dimitrov said, adding: “I will ask Greece to reconsider what kind of neighbour they want — do they want a stable, friendly country that offers hope for democracy and justice?”
This turn of events comes after a long period of turmoil in FYROM, following the end of Nikola Gruevski’s term as prime minister, during which he renamed airports and motorways after Alexander the Great, the warrior king who created an empire stretching from Greece to India.
The new PM, Zoran Zaev, has expressed his determination to build good neighbourly relations with Greece, which he considers a “friend” of his country. This change of approach could put an end to a dispute that has plagued the two countries relations, with FYROM insisting on being called, a name rejected by Greece, as it implies a territorial claim to the northern Greek province with the same name, which occupies the largest part of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.
Greece had vetoed the Balkan nation’s application to the alliance in 2008, on historical, cultural and political grounds, but the new FYROM leadership seems to employ a more pragmatic approach, prioritising the need of being in a strong alliance, in order to face the current challenges presented in the field of diplomacy and international security.
There has not been any mention a specific name being taken into consideration, but analysts have commenting on the likelihood of a geographic term, such as ‘Upper Macedonia’, instead of an ethnic one.