Arguments "in favour" and "against" the agreement with Greece

Arguments "in favour" and "against" the agreement with Greece
The non-governmental organization Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) reported that only 3.1 per cent of the respondents read the name agreement that the Macedonian government has reached with Greece and that a small part of the ethnic Macedonians are ready to support it at a referendum, although a large percentage will still vote. Public hearings show that the supporters and opponents of the agreement firmly stand on their own views, and their complete opposition is confusing. Analysts call for a debate on an equitable basis and all pro and counter arguments be put on the table. What are those arguments?

"In favour" of the agreement with Greece

The board that affirms the agreement with Greece, led by the top government officials, but also prominent lawyers and prominent public figures, thinks that the solution to the two and a half decade of the dispute, which the country has dragged down, in no way jeopardizes the Macedonian identity, singularity, and language. On the contrary, we get a dignified solution - a state name that is geographically precise, because our country is in the northern part of the region that is spread throughout many countries (Bulgaria, Greece and a small part in Albania).

According to them, the three provisions of the agreement define identity issues. The first one is in the article one about citizenship, where it is defined as "Macedonian" (North-Macedonian is not mentioned anywhere) or "the Republic of North Macedonia" with a slash, and the language is "Macedonian language". Article 7 of the Agreement makes a clear distinction that the terms Macedonia and Macedonian in Greece mark the Hellenic part of history, while Macedonia and Macedonian in our context depict our territory, language, nation with all attributes, their own history, culture and heritage different of those in Greece. Accordingly, it is emphasized that we have the right to determine ourselves as Macedonians without any restrictions. This section is basically referred to as the basis of the agreement.

This camp rejects speculations that over time the adjective derived from the name Republic of North Macedonia may lead to the Macedonian language and nationality being marked as NorthMacedonian and point out that nowhere in the agreement does it say that the adjective can be used as such.

Regarding the accusations that the language has already been recognized and in that part has no new benefit, the head of the Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Dimitrov, said that in practice it was not accepted by Greece, and since the southern neighbor is a member of the European Union, it was not accepted in the EU. And that is why Macedonia has no agreement with the European Union where it is mentioned or is signed in Macedonian language.

An important point, according to the supporters of the agreement, is that by implementing this agreement, the use of the reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stops, with which we are officially registered in the UN and with which we actually did not have a name. Now, as they say, we have a historic and perhaps the only chance at the international level to definitely be recognized and declared as a sovereign state, with security borders, titled with a geographical determinant as Macedonia, in which Macedonians live, with recognized international codes MK and MKD, except for the license plate number, which will be different.

Its implementation and final realization, they emphasize, opens the doors of NATO and the EU and opportunities for development.

"Against" the deal

Critics of the agreement in Macedonia believe that any modification of the country's name is a threat to national identity. According to them, the application of the erga omnes principle in internal legal and political order means violation of the principle of political independence guaranteed by the UN acts. For the main opposition party, the agreement with Greece is neither patriotic act nor strengthens the Macedonian identity. The agreement, as they say, is harmful, comes out of the United Nations framework and breaks national and state positions.

"Nationality and language were not part of the negotiations in accordance with the United Nations resolution for the Republic of Macedonia, and now Zoran Zaev is doing damage by abandoning that concept and accepting broader interpretations," VMRO-DPMNE argues. Article 8 of the agreement, according to them, it deprives the right of Macedonians to have their own history, as well as the right to interpret it. The so-called joint interdisciplinary committee, as they add, will review all textbooks, as well as the supporting teaching material, such as history maps, atlases, and instructional guides.

There are politicians, professors, representatives of the diaspora among the public figures who spread the message that the deal is harmful. For them, the agreement is radically asymmetrical because it creates a large number of obligations only for the Macedonian side, which interfere into creating a new history, a new identity, new features and a new present and future. According to them, Article 1 is disputed by which the adjective Macedonian must be replaced with the composite "Republic of North Macedonia" or "North Macedonia", which, as they say, erases everything that is Macedonian. The mention of Article 49, which provides for the care of the Macedonian state for the Macedonian minority in the neighboring countries, is regarded as a denial of it. They also react to the need to change the name of all state institutions, centers and legal entities, but, as they say, the names of all companies that contain the noun Macedonia and the adjective Macedonian. A number of lawyers, however, assessed that the article of the agreement which states that the symbols marked on the former Macedonian national flag will not be used in any way and in any form represents a direct interference in the internal affairs of the country. (N.K.)

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