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makedonin 11-10-2009 06:32 AM

The Name Issue - Institute for Social and Humanities Research
Mailed by R. Stevov:

Institute for Social and Humanities Research

The Name Issue

Exposing and deconstructing the Greek arguments

July 2009

A. The Genesis of the name issue

Following the Republic of Macedonia’s declaration of independence on 8 September 1991, the Republic of Greece imposed the question of the Republic of Macedonia’s constitutional name. Greece links the name issue to two aspects – a security-related one, and a cultural-historical one. Within the context of the Yugoslav crisis and the Hague Conference on Yugoslavia, the European Community Council adopted the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States and the Declaration on Yugoslavia on 16 December 1991. (1) Upon the insistence of the Greek minister of foreign affairs, Andonis Samaras, the European Community Council came out with three conditions for the Republic of Macedonia: to adopt constitutional and political guarantees that would ensure it has no territorial claims towards its neighbouring Community state, that it will not spread hostile propaganda against the neighbouring Community state, and that it would not use a name that would imply territorial pretensions. At the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992, the Republic of Macedonia adopted constitutional amendments whereby it explicitly acknowledged that it did not have any territorial pretensions towards its neighbours, and that it would not interfere in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries (in the context of the constitutional obligation to look after the status of the Macedonian minority in the neighbouring states).

On 11 January 1992, the Arbitration Commission of the European Community chaired by Robert Badinter (established to solve the contentious legal issues within the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia) published its Opinion No. 6, concerning the European Community’s recognition of the Republic of Macedonia. The Opinion points out that the Republic of Macedonia meets all the criteria for recognition as an independent state, set by the European Community. Furthermore, according to the opinion of the Arbitration

Commission, the name “Macedonia” does not imply the existence of territorial claims towards another state.(2)

On 2 May 1992, the European Community Council published a decision according to which “the Community and the member-states are ready to recognize the state (The Republic of Macedonia) as a sovereign and independent country, within the existing borders, under a name that would be acceptable to all parties involved”. On 27 June 1992, the European Council in Lisbon announced that the Community was ready to recognize the Republic of Macedonia only under a name that would not contain the word ‘Macedonia’. (3) Unable to bring a decision about the Greek-Macedonian dispute and the recognition of the Republic of Macedonia, the European Commission transferred the problem to the UN after the Edinburgh Summit in December 1993.

Considering the Greek claims and the overall situation on the territory of former Yugoslavia, i.e., the bloodshed in Bosnia, without, at the same time, taking into account the opinion of the Badinter Commission and the constitutional amendments that the Republic of Macedonia adopted to explicitly acknowledge not having any territorial pretensions towards its neighbours, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 817 on 7 April 1993. In this resolution, the Security Council made recommendations to the General Assembly “to admit to membership in the United Nations the State being provisionally referred to for all purposes within the United Nations as ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. At the same time, the Security Council urged the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece to cooperate with the co-chairmen of the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia (Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen at the time) in order to quickly find solution to the mutual differences (related to the name of the Republic of Macedonia). (4)

On 16 February 1994, following a special session, the Greek government introduced a trade embargo against the Republic of Macedonia5, explaining that it was imposing it due to Greece’s continuous calls for the Republic of Macedonia to stop using the name

‘Macedonia’, to remove the Vergina Sun from its flag and to end its hostile propaganda and territorial claims. Consequently, the Interim Accord was signed on 13 September 1995, fully reflecting Greece’s interests. Obviously, through the embargo, Greece wanted to exercise pressure and impose a bilateral agreement that would considerably articulate and satisfy Greek demands. Namely, the Accord provides for Greece to decide exclusively on the use of historic symbols (related to Ancient Macedonia), to deny the problem of the Macedonian national minority in Greece and it also provides for limited use of international legal mechanisms to solve the name issue. (6) The main substantive obligation for Greece contained in the Interim Accord is not to block the Republic of Macedonia’s membership to international and regional organizations. (7) However, at the NATO Bucharest Summit, the Republic of Greece blocked the Republic of Macedonia’s bid to join NATO, thereby directly violating the Interim Accord. As a result, an ongoing procedure related to this violation is currently before the International Court of Justice. (8)

B. The legal dimensions of the name issue

The principle of sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of states

2.1. The name as a sovereign element of a state

States are basic subjects in international law. The legal personality of states is linked to the statehood of a given subject, i.e., it reflects the degree to which a subject represents a state in the full sense of the word. According to the Montevideo Convention from 1933, in order for a state to be considered as a subject in international law, it has to meet the following criteria: to have a permanent population, defined territory, government and capacity to enter into relations with the other states; following the break-up of Yugoslavia, these criteria were supplemented by additional criteria imposed by the European Community. (9) Consequently, the international legal personality of states includes the possession of rights and duties, and a capacity for interaction on an international level. (10) At the same time, the name of a state is an inalienable part of the state’s legal personality and thereby its statehood. (11) That is why the link between the legal personality of a state and its name needs to be analyzed in correlation with the principle of sovereign equality of states. (12)

For that purpose, it is important to highlight the different elements of the principle of sovereign equality contained in the “Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States” brought by the UN General Assembly in 1970.[B] Namely, the principle of sovereign equality includes the following: “States are juridically equal; each State enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty; each State has the duty to respect the personality of other States; each State has the right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems…”.[/B] (13) Hence, a question arises that needs to be answered – how much does the Republic of Macedonia enjoy the principle of sovereign equality and whether this principle is infringed by Greece?

The first question is whether the Republic of Macedonia is juridically equal to Greece and the other states of the international community. The answer is negative. If a state is facing limitations in the use of its name and if it has the obligation to negotiate over it, like in the case of the Republic of Macedonia, then, the state’s legal personality is derogated. (14) Consequently, the Republic of Macedonia is juridically unequal to Greece and the other countries in the international community.[/B] This inequality is not the result of an inability to meet the criteria necessary to gain full legal personality; on the contrary, it is because during the process of international recognition of the Republic of Macedonia and its admission to UN, political prerequisites were imposed which, ultimately, violate international law.

The second question is whether the Republic of Macedonia enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty. Sovereignty comprises what is under the exclusive competence of the state - domain réservé, i.e., the political and the territorial sovereignty (which includes the population). [/B] (15) The name of the state refers to both, i.e., it is linked to the state with regard to its political independence and territorial integrity whereby a state is physically and politically delimited from other subjects or states in the international community. (16) [B]Therefore, the name of the state represents an inseparable and significant part of its sovereignty and by that, the decision on the state’s name falls within the domain of internal matters of a particular state, i.e., its sovereign competence, although the name also serves to represent the state internationally.[/B]

[B]The third question that needs to be answered is whether Greece respects the Republic of Macedonia’s legal personality. The demand to change its constitutional name and the obligation for negotiations limits the Republic of Macedonia in deciding over the name of the state and consequently about the whole system (legal, political, economic and cultural) that is to be referred to under that name, which represents a clear interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Macedonia.[/B] Namely, the prohibition to interfere in the internal affairs of states is a logical consequence of the principle of sovereign equality and it is one of the basic principles of international law and the UN system.17 In this respect, the interference in the internal matters of the Republic of Macedonia comes from two directions. Firstly, it comes multilaterally from the UN with the UNSC resolutions: by denominating the country under a provisional name (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and posing the condition for negotiations over the name. Secondly, it comes bilaterally from Greece and its demand for the Republic of Macedonia to change its constitutional name, which ultimately does not only affect the name but also the Constitution, passports, etc, and thus significantly violates this important principle. [B]This shows that Greece uses the international community as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, which, again, cannot be seen as legitimate since Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter regulates this principle and prohibits the UN to interfere in the internal affairs of its member states.[/B]

2.2. The inadequacy of the Greek argument that the name of the Republic of Macedonia implies territorial pretensions

Despite the clear criteria for accession of states to the United Nations, the Security Council introduced two additional criteria for the Republic of Macedonia – to accept a provisional denomination and to start negotiations over its name with the Republic of Greece. Article 4 of the UN Charter states that any country could become a member of the UN if it is peace loving, ready to accept and fulfill the obligations contained in the UN Charter and if it is able and willing to carry out these obligations. In that respect, it is important to point out that these criteria are exhaustive and that additional ones cannot be imposed. This derives from the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1948. (18) In the case of the Republic of Macedonia there is a contradiction because the UN Security Council concluded that the Republic of Macedonia meets the membership criteria, i.e., that it is peace-loving and that it respects the obligations of the Charter that mostly refer to the preservation of international peace and security, only to decide at the end of the resolution that it was necessary to impose additional criteria in order to preserve peace and good neighbourly relations. (19)

In order to debunk the argument that the name Republic of Macedonia entails territorial pretensions towards Greece, the following question needs to be asked: what is meant by this? Whether through its name, the Republic of Macedonia actually threatens and is ready to use force to realize its territorial pretensions? It is an argument that, in the end, is completely absurd. [/B]Namely, in accordance with Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which governs this issue, the threat and use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state is prohibited. In this respect, use of force implies use of armed force. This force can be direct (armed force by a state) or indirect (when other states equip or assist irregulars). Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter also prohibits threat since it too can endanger peace. Pursuant to the rulings of the International Court of Justice, the threat to use force is illegal if the use of force itself is illegal. In other words, these two terms stand side by side and are interrelated. (20)

Resolution 3314 of the UN General Assembly in 1970 contains a description of activities that can be considered acts of aggression, i.e., armed attacks, and these activities do not only refer to use of force, since, according to practice, this latter term is more extensive and, amongst other things, includes border incidents. The activities in Resolution 3314 are taxonomically enumerated and they include: invasion or attack of a state by another state’s armed forces; bombardments; armed blockade of ports; the employment of mercenaries and armed irregulars by a state in order to carry out an armed attack of another state. (21) This is something that the Republic of Macedonia has neither planned nor could have actually committed. Simply put, the military capacities of the two states are completely disproportionate. Just as an illustration, according to the amount of conventional weapons acquired in the period 2004-2008, Greece is ranked amongst the top five countries in the world; (22) in addition, its army greatly outnumbers the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. (23)

This shows that the name of a country cannot represent the basis for territorial pretensions towards another state. If this were the case then, in a European context, Belgium, which has a province called Luxembourg, could accuse Luxembourg of having territorial pretensions towards it. The same goes for Great Britain (Grande Bretagne in French) and France, where there is a region called Brittany (Bretagne in French). In an African context, the example is even more significant since here we are dealing with the names of two states, rather than names of provinces and regions – the names of the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are almost the same. The latter state used to be called Zaire in the past and in recent times it changed its name to ‘the Democratic Republic of the Congo’. Nevertheless, the Republic of the Congo does not claim that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has territorial pretensions towards it and neither party has asked for negotiations within the auspices of the UN, like in the case of the Republic of Macedonia.

Furthermore, question 1 (c) of the Badinter Commission, related to the uti possidetis principle (stability and non-changeability of borders that have already been established), was: “does Macedonia (the Commission only used the name Macedonia in the opinion) pledge that it will not change its borders by use of force?”, to which the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia answered: “Yes, the Republic of Macedonia will respect the inviolability of territorial borders that can only be changed in a peaceful way and through consent”. (24) Therefore, Greece’s claims that the name “Macedonia” entails territorial pretensions are unfounded for two reasons, even more so at a time when the uti possidetis principle, i.e., the principle of non-changeability of borders is deeply rooted in international law. Secondly, the decision to call ourselves the Republic of Macedonia cannot in any case fall under the category of territorial pretensions, i.e., use of force or threat, and thus it does not represent interference in Greece’s internal affairs. Indeed, this is exactly what Badinter’s Commission concluded in its Opinion No 6.

C. The historical dimension of the name issue

3.1. Greece’s agenda to gain exclusive rights to ancient history and monopoly over the names Macedonia and Macedonians

An analysis of Greece’s official position towards the name dispute shows that Athens focuses the real political agenda in the dispute on a direct denial of the identity of the Macedonian nation. In that sense, Greece insists on introducing a historical dimension in the name issue, thereby actually trying to ensure its own monopoly over the names Macedonia and Macedonians. Calling upon the exclusiveness of its own interpretation of history, the Greek government is trying to impose the view that the Republic of Macedonia does not have a historical right to use the names Macedonia and Macedonians and that it will have to add an adjective to these names in order to clearly differentiate and delimit itself geographically and historically from the eponymous province in Greece. This statement is supported by the fact that the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically claims that „historically, the Greek name Macedonia refers to the state and civilization of the ancient Macedonians which, beyond doubt is part of Greece’s national and historical heritage”.

Hence, it is not surprising that Greece’s key demands in the negotiations, contained in the official document of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are that the Republic of Macedonia accept: (i) “a definitive composite name with geographical qualification for all purposes (erga omnes)” and for all uses, while at the same time (ii) “genuinely renounce the usurpation of historical and national heritage of the Greek people”. (25)

Greece’s pretensions to historical exclusiveness and monopoly over the names Macedonia and Macedonians were openly exposed by the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dora Bakoyanni, in her article published in the "International Herald Tribune" on 31 March 2008. In the article, Bakoyanni stated that Macedonia “will have to change the name it adopted during the Communist era, to make a clean break with its past”. (26) With this, Athens actually points directly at Greece’s main problem regarding the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia: the very existence of Macedonian identity and the Macedonian nation, as well as the Macedonian minority in Greece.

In this context, one can easily apply the postulates of the Greek politics regarding the name, presented by the ideologue of the dispute – Evangelos Kofos. In his article published in 2005, subsequent to the USA recognition of the Republic of Macedonia’s constitutional name, Evangelos Kofos insists on the historical dimension of the dispute, which he locates in “the first ‘owners’ of the name, who actually gave their name to the region” and who were “a Greek-speaking people, who inhabited roughly the region of present-day Greek Macedonia in classical antiquity identifying themselves as Makedhones in their Greek language”. (27) At the same time, Kofos clearly defines Greece’s key agenda for the monopolization of the terms Macedonia and Macedonians, by stating that “whoever succeeds to impose on foreign languages its own version of ‘Macedonian’ acquires international monopoly for its use”. (28) These theses have been reaffirmed in his latest study dated April 2009, which should supposedly offer a solution to the name dispute. (29)

Greece’s current positions can be seen in the Academy of Athens’ public position with regard to the name dispute. By adducing historical exclusive rights over the names Macedonia and Macedonians, the Academy proposed “a compound name with a geographic connotation that would distinguish ancient Macedonia from the state of FYROM”. (30) This Greek position found an appropriate reflection in the letter to the President of the USA, Barack Obama, dated March 2009 and initiated by the Greek lobby. (31) By adducing historical exclusivity, Greece is trying to completely eliminate the Republic of Macedonia’s right to its constitutional name and Macedonian identity, only on the basis of the absurd historical interpretation that, at some point in history, a part of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia used to be called Paionia before it was integrated into ancient Macedonia, or, that Ancient Macedonia was Greek. What is even more absurd is that, through a distorted discourse, Greece is actually blaming the Republic of Macedonia of monopolistic tendencies, as well as of alleged territorial aspirations and irredentist goals. (32)

[B]It is obvious from Greece’s position that Athens’ real goal is focused on obtaining historical exclusive rights to ancient history and cultural and historical heritage. All of this is for the purpose of their own monopolizing of the names Macedonia and

Macedonians, which leads to a direct and utter denial of the identity of the Macedonian nation. At the same time, it is very clear why Greece has rejected the Republic of Macedonia’s official proposal to set up a joint committee for education and history that would confront historical arguments and facts. Minister Bakoyanni’s dogmatic explanation was that “the history of the ancient world has already been written”?! (33)

It is more than obvious that Greece starts from the key position that the Republic of

Macedonia must not have a Macedonian identity because there must not be a Macedonian nation, and thereby a Macedonian minority in Greece. This Greek position leads to the conclusion that the national identity of the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens is becoming the subject of negotiations upon Greece’s insistence. This makes the negotiation process itself extremely absurd and damaging.

[/B]D. Negotiations

With regards to the negotiations, the Republic of Macedonia has made a number of concessions to the Republic of Greece, which does not leave any room for manoeuvre for the Macedonian side. The last proposals of the mediator Nimitz, which largely articulate the Greek stances (34), make it clear that Greece is asking for a compound name that would contain a geographical qualifier and that would be for overall use and which, besides having to be used with all subjects of the international community, whether on a multilateral or bilateral level, would also have to be used within the country. (35)

As stated above, this completely violates the principles of sovereign equality and noninterference in the internal affairs of states. It is another question whether and how much these demands are rational. Namely, with these demands, Greece wants to call upon history in order to separate (in a physical sense) the territory of ancient Macedonia, that has existed in the past, from the state Republic of Macedonia, which exists in the present, is based on the existing democratic principles and values, and has clearly defined borders and political system. These demands would be at least slightly more legitimate and more logical if the Republic of Macedonia called itself Ancient Macedonia, but in this case, Greece’s arguments fall down completely and show the complete groundlessness of Greece’s claims. To insist on changing the contemporary identity of the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian nation (at the same time denying the right to self-identification and self-determination) only on the basis of an imposed a need for geographical and historical separation of the Republic of Macedonia from the once territory of ancient Macedonia is an absurd issue void of any serious scientific argumentation.

By insisting on introducing a historical dimension in the dispute, Athens actually makes an absurd delimitation of contemporary territories of sovereign states on the basis of its own exclusive historical interpretation. This position represents an extremely dangerous tendency that all Balkan countries could use in the future and adduce historical exclusivity. Adducing the exclusivity of ancient history as the basis for the denial of a sovereign country’s right to self-determination and contesting the identity of a sovereign nation has the potential to become a dangerous precedent for the Balkans and Europe.

That Athens aims for exclusive interpretation and usage of history can also be substantiated by the fact that the negotiation proposals are very much directed towards giving the Greek province called Macedonia precedence in abstract and functional terms over the name of the state ‘the Republic of Macedonia’. For example, the latest tabled proposal by the mediator Mathew Nimitz is ‘Republic of Northern Macedonia’. The word Republic is obsolete and what remains is the name Northern Macedonia, whereas the name of the province in Greece is and will remain Macedonia. Such a proposal not only gives the province precedence over the name of the state in abstract terms (with regard to naming) but it also gives it precedence in functional terms i.e. the province as an entity is higher than the state as a separate entity and thus the highest entity in international relations.

In that respect, if the Macedonian party chooses so, it would be completely legitimate to decide to step out of the negotiations. If it remains in the negotiations, the ‘red line’ is a technical issue and it should refer to the non-withdrawal from the double formula, and it is not the case of, as some consider, national identity being a ‘red line’ we should not overstep. This last issue is crucial and under no circumstances should it become the subject of negotiations, since it is part and parcel of the right to self-determination. The same goes for the name of the state, which actually represents a technical-legal issue and is within the sovereign competence of the state itself. However, considering that the Macedonian side is still not showing any intentions to abandon the negotiations, we suggest that it insist only on the double formula. This solution must not go beyond the use of the constitutional name bilaterally with the states of the international community and multilaterally with all international organizations and institutions while, as a sign of good will, a compromise name could be accepted but only for the needs of the Republic of Greece.

This conclusion stems from the aforementioned reasons and from the fact that, despite being recognized under our constitutional name by 125 out of 192 member states of the UN, we are still being denominated under a provisional name in international and regional organizations due to a completely absurd campaign beyond any international principles. By supporting this outrageous campaign based on flawed arguments, the international community itself can be seen as an accomplice in the name issue.


(1) Declaration on Yugoslavia, Extraordinary EPC Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, 16 December, 1991

(2) Conference on Yugoslavia Arbitration Commission – Opinion no. 6, On the Recognition of the Socialist

Republic Yugoslavia by the European Community and its Member States, Paris 11 January, 1992.

(3) European Council Declaration on Yugoslavia Annex II, European Council in Lisbon 24-26 June, 1992.

[url][/url]. p.43

(4 )United Nations Security Council Resolution 817 (1993). Available at:

[url][/url]. See also United Nations Security Council Resolution 845 (1993). Available at:


(5) Student project, The Name Dispute – Greece and Macedonia, Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje 2008, pp 182-183.

(6) See Article 5 (1) the obligation to negotiation is determined by a bilateral agreement, in Resolution 817 and 845 of the Security Council this obligation is not explicit. Article 6, especially paragraphs 2 and 3 regarding the Macedonian minority in Greece. Article 7 (2 and 3) regarding the use of historical symbols. Article 21 (2) regarding the (im)possibility to bring the name dispute before the International Court of Justice, except for the interpretation of the Interim Accord.

(7) Article 11 (1) Greece agreed it would not block our entry into international and regional organizations, except when we are referred to differently than as defined by Resolution 817 of the UN Security Council.

(8) See at: [url][/url].

(9 ) Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Signed at Montevideo, December 26, 1933;

Declaration on Yugoslavia, Extraordinary EPC Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, 16 December, 1991.

(10) I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, Oxford University Press 6th edition, p.57.

(11) I. Janev, Review of International Affairs, Vol. LIII, no. 1108, Oct-Dec 2002, p.2.

(12) United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV) 1970, Declaration on Principles of InternationalLaw concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of theUnited Nations, and United Nations Charter , 1948, Article 2(7).

(13 ) Ibid.,

(14) See 11 above, p. 5.

(15) See 12, Article 2(1), United Nations Charter, 1948. See ‘Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe’, Helsinki Final Act 1975.

(16) See 10, p.106. See also Oppenheim’s International Law (eds. R. Y. Jennings and A. D. Watts), 9th edn,

London, 1992, chapter 5;

(17) See 12 above.

(18) Admission of a State in the United Nations (Charter, Art. 4), ICJ Reports, 57 (1948). 11. GA Res. 197 (III, A), 8 December 1948.

(19) See 11 p. 1.

(20) Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, ICJ reports (1986).

(21) Article 3, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX) Definition of Aggression, December 14, 1974

(22) SIPRI Yearbook 2009: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (Summary), Stockholm

International Peace Research Institute Sipri: [url][/url]

(23) CIA – “The World Factbook” Republic of Macedonia ([url][/url] -worldfactbook/

geos/MK.htlm) Greece ([url][/url] -world-factbook/geos/GR.htlm)

(24) See 2 above.

(25) “The FYROM name issue”, Ministry of foreign affairs of Greece: [url][/url]



(26) In the article, Bakoyanni explicitly pointed out the key aspect of the problem that for Greece is directly linked to the question of Macedonian identity and the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece, thereby completely changing the discourse in the actual dispute. Dora Bakoyannis, “The view from Athens“, International Herald Tribune 31.03.2008, [url][/url]. 1.11552267.html?scp=3&sq=view%20from%20athens&st=cse.

(27) E. Kofos, ‘The Controversy over the Terms ‘Macedonians’ and ‘Macedonian”, A Probable Exit Scenario’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Vol.5, No. 1 (January 2005), 129–133 (extracts from Kofos’ text were printed in the publication Ìáêåäïíßá (Macedonia): A Greek Term in Modern Usage, Thessaloniki 2005. Idem, ‘Greece's Macedonian Adventure: The Controversy over FYROM’s Independence and Recognition’, Athens-Skopje: An Uneasy Symbiosis (1995-2002), edited by Evangelos Kofos and Vlasis Vlasidis, Athens 2005 (English edition).

(28) E. Kofos, ‘The Controversy over the Terms ‘Macedonians’ and ‘Macedonian’; 129–133.

(29) Å. Êofos, “The Current Macedonian Issue between Athens and Skopje: Is there an Option for a

Breakthrough?”, ELIAMEP Thesis 3/2009 (Athens, April 2009), [url][/url]


(30) “The Academy of Athens' public position on the Macedonian Issue“, 28.03.2008 -


(31) Letter to President Barack Obama, [url][/url], In this letter, signed by over 200 professors, the Republic of Macedonia is being denied the right to the names Macedonia and Macedonians through an absurd and exclusive historical interpretation and construction stating that, in ancient times, the territory of the Republic of Macedonia “used to be called Paionia” and that “the Paionians were not Macedonians”, unlike “Macedonia and the Macedonian Greeks”.

(32) “The FYROM name issue”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece“.

(33) “Athens reply to fYRoM FM“, ANA, [url]http://www.anampa[/url].


(34) See 25 above.

(35) Dnevnik, 24 June 2009 ‘Northern has become cemented’:


Risto the Great 11-10-2009 03:36 PM

[QUOTE][B]By supporting this outrageous campaign based on flawed arguments, the international community itself can be seen as an accomplice in the name issue.[/B][/QUOTE]

An excellent piece.
The above comment says it all. We are being toyed with.

George S. 11-10-2009 05:03 PM

Precisely RTG if Macedonia fullfils the requirements for admission to NATO & EU.THey should not have mucked around & impose more conditions.THese conditions do not help Macedonia & it's meant to be detrimental.The powers that be should know their history
& Greece should know how much pain & suffering it has caused to Macedonia.Does anyone really care about little Macedonia.Obviously not.It is the little country with the big Heart.

George S. 11-14-2009 04:48 PM

The double name formula is not okay
The double name formula is not okay

By Risto Stefov

[email][email protected][/email]

October 1, 2009

Some political figures in the Republic of Macedonia are in support of a “double name formula” and maintain that if the rest of the world calls the Republic of Macedonia by its historic and constitutional name, Greece can call it “whatever it wants”. In other words the idea that Greece calls Macedonia whatever it wants is supported by some Macedonians.

But what does this mean?

Greece already calls the Republic of Macedonia, the entire Region of Macedonia, the Macedonian people and the Macedonian language and culture whatever it wants. So what’s in it for Greece?

Greece would love to have Macedonians agree to call Macedonia the country, the ethnic Macedonians, the Macedonian identity and everything Macedonian whatever it wants so then Greece can later say to the world “we cannot recognize a Macedonian minority living in Greece for several reasons; first and foremost we have an agreement with Skopje and as far as both Greece and Skopje are concerned there is no such minority living in Greece. Second, our agreement with Skopje will be violated if we recognize a Macedonian minority, not that one exists or ever existed.”

Agreeing to a double name formula with Greece will have disastrous effects and lasting consequences for many generations of Macedonians in the future. And this would be a disaster the Macedonian people would bring upon themselves. We have been pressured and fooled once to get into this “name game” so shame on Greece and Western Europe for doing it but if we enter this in a second round then shame on us for being fooled twice. And believe me no one, not even our friends, will sympathize with us for being so naïve!

If the double name formula is implemented and goes into effect what will the Macedonians living in Greece call themselves? When willingly abandoned by their fellow Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia, who will then care for the Macedonians in Greece? How will the Macedonians living inside and originating from Greece feel about this? Happy? I think not! Betrayed? And who will they blame for this betrayal? Haven’t the Macedonians under Greece suffered enough?

I can’t answer for every Macedonian from Greece but as a Macedonian from Greece I do qualify to answer some questions. The fact that any Macedonian considers that Greece should call me or any Macedonian from Greece whatever it wants is already a betrayal. I can understand the Greek desires motivated by greed and hatred to rid the Macedonians who stand between them and the Macedonian lands and riches they want to permanently possess, but I can never understand what would motivate Macedonians to “sell out the Macedonians in Greece”. Also, if those Macedonians who consider the “double name formula” as a viable option knew what Greece has in store for them in the future, they would never agree to such a formula.

Just for the record, I will say this again. Greece has ambitions to annex the Republic of Macedonia one way or another. Their plan is to get rid of the Macedonian identity once and for all. Today Greece refuses to recognize anything Macedonian but internationally it is losing its hold. Tomorrow, particularly after the elections in Greece and after Australia recognizes Macedonia by its historic and constitutional name, Greece will change its stance and will agree to talk about the “double name formula” which will put the Republic of Macedonia in yet another precarious position of its own making. The Republic of Macedonia will then be placed in yet another series of name talks, with vetoes, mind games, etc.; you get the picture. In the meantime Greece will be preparing its own people and the world pushing its new propaganda that beneath the Greek veneer are the true Macedonians, the true descendants of the ancient Macedonians. In other words, they will convince themselves and the world that Greek and Macedonian is synonymous and everyone in Greece is truly a Macedonian. I have many e-mails to prove that this is already happening. If we are not careful what we agree to and blindly sign agreements, Greeks will become Macedonians (and therefore Greeks) and the real Macedonians will vanish!

This may sound absurd, but what is more absurd, a bunch of Slavs, Albanians and Vlachs running around calling themselves Greeks, descendants of the ancient Greeks with no history and no evidence to prove it or a bunch of former Slavs, former Albanians, former Vlachs and Grkomans running around calling themselves “Macedonians, therefore Greeks”? Nothing is absurd about the Modern Greeks who are empowered by the lust of greed for Macedonian lands and wealth. It has always been about wealth and power and never about ethnicities and identities. If it was about ethnicities and identities, there would be no Greeks today, there would only be Albanians, Vlachs, Macedonians, Turks and others living in Greece.

Greece and Western Europe over the years have stacked up a lot of problems. One day, as the Macedonian identity strengthens, Greece and Western Europe will have to answer to these problems so you can appreciate why Greece and Western Europe are so anxious to see the Macedonians go away. If the Macedonians go away, disappear forever, Greece and the Western Europeans will never have to deal with these problems and at least this particular secret will be safe.

If we want to gain entry to various international institutions and if we want these problems to be handled properly then we must stand firm and say NO to the name negotiations. We are Macedonians, we have always been Macedonians and we must insist the world accept us for who we are, Macedonians. After all it is our legal right to be who we are!

As my final words, let me warn you, Greece will soon be populated by Macedonians of its own making and it will become a race to convince the world who is real and who is fake. Let me also remind you that Greece has all the resources in the world, is an expert at lies, and has powerful friends in Western Europe to help her achieve her dreams. What do we have if not our dignity? And are we willing to sell that out and for what?

If an agreement is reached and accepted by the Republic of Macedonia for Greece to call the Macedonians “whatever it wants” what will the Republic of Macedonia call the Macedonians living inside Greece without violating this agreement? Food for thought!

George S. 11-14-2009 04:55 PM

The double name formula is a betrayal of the Macedonians living inGreece,Letting Greece call us what it wants is a betrayal.Also letting Greece call us names with a prefix is a betrayal.
"Agreeing to a double name formula with Greece will have disastrous effects and lasting consequences for many generations of Macedonians in the future. And this would be a disaster the Macedonian people would bring upon themselves. We have been pressured and fooled once to get into this “name game” so shame on Greece and Western Europe for doing it but if we enter this in a second round then shame on us for being fooled twice. And believe me no one, not even our friends, will sympathize with us for being so naïve!"
That's why they have to pull out of any negotiations.For Macedonia the deal should be we should be recognised by our constitutional name or we pull out we don't negotiate.Any negotiations will spell disaster for Macedonia.Note we have 124 countries that have recognised us that should be good enough for Greece to bite the bullet *& recognise us under our proper name.The dealing & wheeling of Greece is that they don't even recognise us & their minorities the ultimate reward is they get to monopolize the name& they will have the box & dice.What was once just Greek will become Macedonian if they negotiate on the name it will give them more validity.

Soldier of Macedon 11-15-2009 07:07 AM

Interesting article.
[QUOTE]Some political figures in the Republic of Macedonia are in support of a “double name formula” and maintain that if the rest of the world calls the Republic of Macedonia by its historic and constitutional name, Greece can call it “whatever it wants”.[/QUOTE]
I am not sure about the accuracy of that statement. Which political figures of Macedonia specifically, have said that "Greece can call it [U]whatever it wants[/U]"?
[QUOTE]Agreeing to a double name formula with Greece will have disastrous effects and lasting consequences for many generations of Macedonians in the future.[/QUOTE]
There are particulars to consider. Can Greece be forced to be normal and refer to us by our historic name? In all probability, the answer is no. Just like they can't force us to change our name. What else can we do to bring them in line?

Would it be acceptable if the double-name formula was assumed, where Greece would make reference to the Macedonian Republic as 'Northern Macedonia', but with the Macedonian language and identity fully acknowledged by the Macedonian name?

I can also understand the possibility of further mind-games after this, for example, are the Macedonian national sports teams going to require 2 different team dress/shirts, one for Greece and one for the rest of the world? Ideally and truthfully, we all know that Greece does not have the right to exercise such open anti-Macedonian racism, but the west turns a blind eye and in some cases condones it. Does the Macedonian Republic just dismiss Greece completely and not deal with her at all? We see alot of people talking about what we shouldn't do, I would like to hear people talking about what we should do. Realistic options.

Soldier of Macedon 11-15-2009 07:25 AM


[QUOTE]Macedonia invests efforts for a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, which preserves the identity, dignity and integrity of Macedonian citizens, based on the principles of international law and Euro-Atlantic values, Macedonian negotiator in the name talks, ambassador Zoran Jolevski told UN mediator Matthew Nimetz at their meeting in New York late Friday.

Macedonia remains actively, constructively and intensively engaged in the name talks, expecting Greece to observe the 1995 Interim Treaty and refrain from preventing the country's integration in European and Euro-Atlantic structures, thus contributing to the positive climate in the row settlement.

Nimetz met on Thursday with Greek negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis, who presented the country's stance in the name issue.

Vassilakis said after the meeting that Greece remains on its position for a complex name with geographic determinant for general use as the most appropriate solution, whereas failure of the issue's closure would result in Athens blocking Macedonia's start of EU accession talks. Moreover, he denied media speculations that the Greek side was ready for concessions from the so-called 'red lines' in the issue's resolution.

According to announcements from Greek media, UN mediator Nimetz is to schedule a joint meeting with the countries' negotiators in the course of next week.

As it stands now, there are very good chances of the 'talks' collapsing, especially after December 7th. Realistically, Greece is expected to veto Macedonia EU entrance negotiations which may force Macedonia to put an end to the 'negotiations' and transfer the case to a UN vote (it would be a smart thing to do). On December 7th, diplomats expect for Athens to breach the 1995 Interim Agreement once more.[/QUOTE]
Still the same old garbage. Nothing changes.

Soldier of Macedon 11-15-2009 07:28 AM


[QUOTE]Greece offers no agreement or guarantees on the issue of Macedonian identity and we should be aware of that in order not to be taken by surprise in case someone brings up the matter, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stated on Friday.

Till present day regardless of the governmental structure, Greece hasn't been showing readiness to discuss the identity issue at all, the PM added.

- It is one of the serious issues, even though at home we are constantly being convinced that nothing else is important only if an agreement on the identity is reached. Not only there aren't any guarantees on the identity, but also Greece is not willing to discuss it at all, rather may take on it after the 'name'. It is not in its interest, Gruevski told the press at a celebration marking the 65th anniversary of Skopje's liberation.

Macedonia, he stressed, is prepared to fight for its strategic and national interests and the people will voice their support for certain name proposals to come at a referendum.

Commenting a statement by government coalition partner, DUI leader Ali Ahmeti and president of opposition party SDSM, Branko Crvenkovski given at a joint meeting on prompt settlement of the name row, Gruevski said Crvenkovski was not relevant to give lectures on the matter since he had failed to solve it during his years in the office.

At the moment, no one right now is sure for how long these pretend negotiations will go on.

Asked what he thought on SDSM's members meeting with Greek Ambassador and their urging for Macedonia to change the name 'or else', Gruevski added Crvenkovski wont be allowed to create a repeat of 2001, avoiding to comment on their meetings with Greek Officials.

Referring to the visa liberalisation for Macedonia, PM Gruevski said it was entering in its final stage. - I hope the process will have a positive ending. The issue is to be discussed at an EU ministerial meeting on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. I hope the process to be completed with a positive result, which will enable Macedonian citizens as of Dec. 19 to travel without visas in Schengen zone countries, PM Gruevski stated.[/QUOTE]

George S. 11-15-2009 07:46 AM

You know that Mathew Nimmetz is meant to be Impartial,If that is telling Macedonia to change her name is impartial i don't know what is.I don't know that this Dicatorial puppet
has simply taken over from Greece's stance on Macedonia.The Eu & Nato have taken Greece's stance that If Macedonia wan'ts membership they have to comply with the wishes of Greece.So Greece is using the very thing Macedonia is trying to get in & really has not much in the matter.There is a strong possibility that a softened approach
might be pursued our identity is at stake.Whatis said if Macedonia changes their name they will admit Macedonia Automatically.I reckon Macedonia has been fooled to beleive that she'll be allright when there's a dagger waiting for her.It will be a big blow for democracy for the country who tried to do the right thing.After all is said & done i'm not sure if Macedonia would like to join the Eu & Nato.I can see these organisations taking advantage of her.

Bill77 11-15-2009 07:51 AM

My realistic point of view SOM,

We stop Negotiations imediatly in protest not only towards Greece but The rest of the world. The curent problem is, we have shown weekness to the rest of the world after we changed our constitution, then the flag. Then we quickly put pen to paper regarding the Albanian minority at the Ohrid agreement, after we were instructed by the west to do so. Now by doing so, the west realise they can play any tune and we will dance.

What is our next option? we continue with our relationships with those 127 nations that have recognised us and we work with the remainder few one on one and they will jump on board evan if it takes another 100years. We and our past have gone thrugh so much and achieved so much only to give it away now?

What do we lose if we stop dialog?
A) Near term entry to eu and nato

What do we gain if we stop dialog?
A) Obviously we keep our name
B) self respect
C) a clear message to those puppeteers in europe

If we change our name, Then its gone forever. But what is worse, is where will the Dictators stop once they see the ultimate weekness? What next, change our alphabet, learn and speak another language?

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