Macedonia’s Parliament ratifies name deal with Greece

Macedonia’s Parliament adopted Wednesday the law on ratification of the Final Agreement for the settlement of the differences as described in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993), the termination of the Interim Accord of 1995 and the establishment of a strategic partnership.

Lawmakers voted 69-0 to ratify the agreement, while opposition VMRO-DPMNE did not attend the parliament’s session.

The agreement marks the beginning of the end of uncertainty for Macedonia and represents dignified and acceptable solution for both sides, with which the Macedonian identity and language is permanently confirmed, PM Zoran Zaev said Wednesday prior to start of parliament’s session at which name agreement with Greece should be ratified.

“We have an agreement with a clear mark of our Macedonian identity, of our Macedonian language, forever. We did not give anything to anyone, nor did anyone take anything when we agreed on a geographical qualifier. This is a bold step in the interest of the future of citizens and our children for a peaceful future. Let’s dismiss the manipulations, elimination and xenophobia and offer a chance to the agreement. The citizens will have the final say,” Zaev said.

He said that the agreement is supported by all international partners, it opens the doors of Macedonia towards a European future. Zaev expects European Council give Macedonia a date for start of EU accession negotiations by end of June, by which the dream becomes a reality.

He calls for uniting efforts in the interest of joint future. European family accepts us as Macedonians. We have another friend and strategic partner, we guarantee the stability and security of Macedonia, we are opening the way to the EU and NATO. We are achieving our ancestors’s aspiration to be recognized by everyone as Macedonians speaking Macedonian. This is a historic act by which Macedonia and citizens get a chance, Zaev underlined.

According to the agreement, after Parliament ratifies it, Greece is obliged to inform the European Council President Donald Tusk that it supports the start of Macedonia’s EU membership negotiations and to inform NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that it supports the NATO invitation. The EU foreign ministers will meet on June 25-26 while the EU Summit will be held on June 28.

President Gjorge Ivanov should sign the document after it is ratified in Parliament.

The agreement will be finally put up for referendum in Macedonia, which should be organized either in September or October.