News World Greek lawmakers edge toward Macedonia deal as issue divides nation

Greek lawmakers edge toward Macedonia deal as issue divides nation

Greek lawmakers began the final steps on Wednesday towards ratifying an historic accord on a name-change for the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as a bitter row rumbled with opponents who say it harms Greece’s national identity.

Parliament opened a two-day debate on ratifying the so-called Prespes Agreement, a U.N. mediated deal between Athens and Skopje changing the latter’s name to Republic of North Macedonia.

The deal, aimed at settling a 28-year old dispute between the two countries over the use of the term “Macedonia”, has triggered strong opposition among many Greeks, angered at what they see as an attempt by their neighbours to appropriate Greek identity.

Parliament is expected to ratify the name accord as Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appears to have secured the support of at least 151 lawmakers in the 300-seat house.

However, the latest opinion poll conducted for Proto Thema newspaper on Jan. 20 showed 66 percent of respondents against the agreement.

Tens of thousands of people rallied against the settlement in Athens on Sunday, arguing that it leaves room for territorial claims over Greece’s largest northern province of Macedonia.

“This is a historic deal which solves a national issue which has lasted for 30 years,” said Sia Anagnostopoulou, a lawmaker from the ruling Syriza party during the opening of the two-day debate expected to culminate in a vote late Thursday at the earliest.

Greek parliamentary endorsement of the accord is needed for the ex-Yugoslav state to eventually join the European Union and NATO, organisations where Greece is a member and has veto rights – like other members – on who gets to join.

George Koumoutsakos, parliamentary spokesman for opposition New Democracy, criticised the government for settling on a ‘nationally damaging’ deal and forfeiting its bargaining power. New Democracy has been critical that the deal grants Macedonian ethnicity, and recognises the existence of a Macedonian language.

“You gave, with your signature, consents and concessions which no government ever did in the past,” Koumoutsakos said.

Tsipras scraped through a confidence motion in parliament last week following the departure of his right-wing coalition allies Independent Greeks (ANEL) which were against the accord.


Top Stories

Higher fines for traffic offences move step closer

    Higher fines for traffic offences, long sought by police to reduce the number of road accidents, came a step closer today after the House...

64.8% of hospitalised Covid patients were male – weekly report

The Thursday report of the Health Ministry's Epidemiological Surveillance Unit has found that as of May 26 64.8% of all hospitalised Covid-19 patients (114...

Two more test positive to Covid-19, both through tracing

There were two new Covid-19 cases in Cyprus the Health Ministry said, both found through tracing the contacts of confirmed cases (60 tests today),...

Burial in Turkish-held north of enclaved G/C permitted 20 days after death

  Turkish Cypriot authorities yesterday finally allowed the remains of an enclaved Greek Cypriot from the Turkish-occupied village of Ayia Triada who died 20 days...

Additional relaxations in new Health Ministry decree

  Pleasure boats and sea sports are back, under conditions, following a decree issued on Thursday by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, CNA reports. The new decree...


Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...