Europe

What’s in a Name?

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Zoran Jolevski

 

Macedonia’s ambassador responds to “The Name Game”.

 

ForeignPolicy.com recently published an inaccurate history (“The Name Game,” July 23, 2009) of Greece’s efforts to prevent Macedonia from joining NATO and the European Union.

 

The authors refer to Greece’s veto of our NATO accession for reasons of “bad neighborly relations” and point specifically to Greek concerns that Macedonia’s chosen name implies “expansionist ambitions.”  However, the article neglects to mention Macedonia’s many efforts to accommodate and assuage Greek concerns. In 1995, Macedonia changed our national flag and reinforced the “no change of borders” provision of our constitution, adding that we “have no territorial claims against neighboring states.”

 

Only months ago, Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki sent a letter to his Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, reiterating three initiatives originally proposed by our government in January 2008: the signing of a declaration of friendship, good-neighborliness, and cooperation; the establishment of a joint committee on education and history; and the reaffirmation of our proposed framework proposal for advancing bilateral relations between the two countries. Unfortunately, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected our offer out of hand; a week later, Bakoyannis confirmed the rejection in a letter sent to Milososki.

 

Excerpt reproduced with permission from Foreign Policy, www.foreignpolicy.com. Copyright 2009 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive LLC. Read the full article at  [http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/06/whats_in_a_name]

 

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