With their respective prime ministers looking on, the Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have signed an agreement to end almost 30 years of dispute over the latter’s name.
The Greek fishing village of Psarades, on Lake Prespes– a natural water border between the two countries, was chosen as the spot for the signing ceremony, for its symbolic location.
Under the agreement, Greece’s northern neighbor will be renamed North Macedonia.
People on both sides of the border are staunchly opposed to the deal, including FYROM’s President, Gjorge Ivanov, who said he would veto the legislation.
The day before, thousands of Greeks protested outside the Parliament building while inside, a no-confidence motion against Greek Prime Minister Tsipras was being argued.
Tsipras survived the no-confidence vote, paving the way for his political mandate to meet his counterpart, Zoran Zaev, to move forward with the agreement that he called an “appointment with history.”
But according to polls, most Greeks disagree.
According to the latest poll by Marc for @protothema, a staggering 68.3% of Greeks describe the deal signed by PM Tsipras on the Macedonian name dispute as a "bad deal", with 48.9% of Syriza's own voters being against the deal. Only 22.9% of Greeks support the specific agreement.
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) June 17, 2018
The signing of the agreement doesn’t mean that that issue is closed.
Both national parliaments must approve the deal and the matter– which involved constitutional changes in Skopje, must be brought before a referendum in that country.
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