Greek parliament approves Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession

Elias Hubbard
February 9, 2019

The Greek parliament is expected to be the first of any North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state to ratify Macedonia's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession protocol on Friday, at a plenary session that is expected to end in a positive vote.

That settles a dispute of the country's name which Greece saw as a potential threat to its own northern region of Macedonia.

The Greek parliament on Friday ratified the NATO accession protocol for neighbouring Macedonia - renamed North Macedonia - with 153 votes in favour, 140 against and one abstention.

However, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev were able to push through their accord as part of efforts to normalize relations.

"History will judge us".

Greece's approval, by a slim majority, came after the two countries settled the dispute by agreeing to change the country's name from the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" to the "Republic of North Macedonia". "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty".

Opposition parliamentarians argued that Greece had given too many concessions to soon-to-be North Macedonia, including a vow not to oppose its proposed NATO membership.

And I repeat once again: "I do not forgo the right to veto Skopje's accession in the European Union", he said, adding that New Democracy does not object in principle to FYROM's entry into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but it opposes granting "Macedonian" ethnicity and language to its neighbor. But the election of left-led governments in both the countries made them less vulnerable to nationalist pressures.

The two countries remained deadlocked over Macedonia's name for the duration of the younger country's existence.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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