At the Bogorodica border crossing with Greece, newly-dubbed “North Macedonian” workers began changing road signs bearing their country’s official new name, the Republic of North Macedonia, making a first step in implementing a landmark deal with Athens that has brought much tension and controversy on both sides of the border.
Greece and North Macedonia agreed on the new name last June and Athens lifted its 27-year veto on its tiny neighbor’s efforts to join NATO and the European Union, following a contentious debate in Parliament.
Greece had repeatedly argued that the use of the name “Macedonia” implied a territorial claim on a northern Greek province of the same name, as well as historical and cultural appropriation of Greek history and culture by the majority Slavic nation.
“May today be the beginning of a long friendship between Greece and North Macedonia,” North Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said in a tweet.
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