The Greek parliament votes this afternoon normally in that its small northern neighbour now goes through life as ‘Northern Macedonia’. It delivers premier Tsipras in Europe the epithet ‘statesman’, but for many Greeks, he is a traitor.
’Hands off Macedonia!’ Also this afternoon, will that slogan on the Syntagma square in Athens from thousands of throats sound, while in the parliament the vote on the question of whether the Former …
’Hands off Macedonia!’ Also this afternoon, will that slogan on the Syntagma square in Athens from thousands of throats sound, while in the parliament the vote on the question of whether the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) North-Macedonia.
Polls show that 70 % of the Greeks, rejects the joint text. The Greek premier Tsipras, who, together with his Macedonian colleague Zoran Zaev last year an agreement closed, and a ‘historical event’ appeals, been called a traitor. “You’ve got the monopoly on the use of the name Macedonia surrendered, you have the Greek geostrategic position,” Fofi Gennimata, the leader of the left-wing Pasok party. Members of parliament from Syriza, the party of Tsipras, had the past few days death threats.
And that for a name?
The issue is dragging already since 1991, when Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, the republic of Macedonia’s independence and the name and symbols appropriated which is closely connected with the Greek history and culture. The airport in Skopje was named after Alexander the Great, who in 2011 in the centre of the capital, a large statue was. The first flag contained the ‘star of Vergina’ – a symbol that appears on archaeological finds in graves in this Northern Greek town. Under the pressure of an economic blockade by Greece paste Skopje its flag in 1995. But in the absence of an agreement on the name, had the inhabitants have to accept the acronym FYROM (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
All that time, which accused the Greek governments of the nationalist politicians in FYROM them to lay claim to Greek territory, without making it clear how they ever could get, given the weakness of the army in comparison with that of Greece. But the belief that this risk-on ‘irredentisme’ is real, will continue to exist in Greece.
Four times fought
‘The Greeks have vivid memories of the fact that there the last century, four times fought was to Macedonia, ” said the Greek professor Angelos Syrigos with The Guardian. The new name would according to him be acceptable if they also beat on the language and the description of the population: “But if our neighbors become familiar as Macedonians and Macedonian” speak, that may in the future form the basis for territorial demands.’
Certainly in the north of Greece this is very sensitive. A lot of the residents are relatives of the hundreds of thousands of Greeks almost a hundred years ago had to flee from Turkey, after a failed Greek military offensive – ‘the Great Catastrophe’. They hold strongly to their Greek identity and the monopoly on the name Macedonia.
Opposition casts revenge
In addition, the Greek opposition leaders saw an opportunity to the government Tsipras will fall. They aroused emotions in the past few months. The socialist Pasok party is not forget that Tsipras in 2015 with the majority of its voters went to walk after an aggressive campaign, and thinking about revenge.
Kiriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the conservative Nea Dimokratia, led the rhetoric against the deal with Skopje, to no votes to lose in Macedonia, where his party is traditionally strong. He also wants to absolutely avoid that the within his party to a schism, as he is about the issue smoothly would prepare. Kiriakos never forgot what his father in 1993’s what happened: prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis was willing to accept the name “Nova Macedonia” as a compromise. But he lost the power after a part of the party is under the leadership of the late prime minister Antonis Samaras had torn off.
Mitsotakis, who is the EPP one, with its set-up in collision with the majority of European leaders, among whom are party members, Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, and Nato boss Jens). The name issue prevents that Macedonia can join Nato and the EU can enter negotiations about accession. That deadlock is a risk in instability and Russian influence in the balkan country, which in 2001 already on the brink of civil war weighed. But Mitsotakis said Thursday, even that Greece reserves the right to use his veto against the approach of Macedonia to the EU.
In the meantime, get Tsipras international accolade. According to The Financial Times , he has evolved from a stokebrand to a statesman, the interests of his country above his own political future post. Because in the run-up to the Greek elections this autumn, it looks not good for Syriza: the party is in a lot of polls at least 10 % behind Nea Dimokratia of Mitsotakis.