NATO flag instead of “Republic of Macedonia”

The letters “Government of the Republic of Macedonia” on the government building on Ilinden Street were removed early yesterday morning, but as of today this “void” will be filled with a NATO flag in front of the entrance to the building. The setting of the flag will be followed by a formal ceremony, where Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will address the public, and official state representatives, members of the Alliance headquarters in the country, ambassadors of member states, as well as all Macedonian ambassadors at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, regardless which government they represented during their ambassador’s post, have been invited to attend the event.

Yesterday, on the plateau in front of the government freed from the fence that closed the view, there were major preparations and tests for today’s ceremony. The space was cleaned, and seats and a red carpet were placed. The formal ceremony follows after Macedonia’s Accession Protocol for becoming a member state of NATO was signed last week in Brussels, and which was immediately ratified in the Greek Parliament. It was announced that the protocol will be ratified in the parliament of Slovenia today, which will be the first, after Greece and outside the Prespa Agreement, to approve our membership in NATO. Macedonian Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, who will address the Slovenian MPs, will attend the meeting in the Parliament in Ljubljana.

At today’s government session, as announced, the action plan for the application of the new constitutional name of the country is to be implemented by the inter-ministerial working group that was established for that purpose, headed by the Secretary General of the Government, Dragi Raskovski. Yesterday, the government was waiting for the government to publish the entry into force of the new name Republic of North Macedonia in the Official Gazette, but it remained unclear whether a new sign will be placed in front of the government building today, along with the NATO flag.

Some of the sign boards that need to be bilingual – in Albanian as well – with the addition “North”, according to the information, have already been procured and waiting in warehouses to be placed – at the border crossings and at the entrances of state institutions, and then the diplomatic-consular offices of the country, as well as the institutions in the units of the local self-government. Although yesterday, at the Bogorodica border crossing on the southern border, several reporters’ crews waited for the sign board to be removed with the old constitutional name and be replaced with the North Republic of Macedonia, until yesterday afternoon everything remained the same there. They do not specify when exactly the replacement of road signs will begin. They only say that all necessary procedures will be completed in the next few days.

-After the completion of all legal requirements, the Government will publish the date of entry into force of the constitutional amendments and the Constitutional Law in the Official Gazette. Then, the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece will submit a joint letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, informing them of the date of entry into force of the Final Agreement, which put an end to the decades-long bilateral dispute between the two countries,” the government explained in a written statement to Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent daily newspaper, from which it can be noted that the government’s cabinet already uses the new name of the country in its written communication. The government’s press service explained that after the notification which will be sent to Guterres, the UN Secretariat, member states and observers in the world organization, as well as all other international organizations to which our country is a member, will be notified of the changes made. (AMM)

Political parties do not have to change names

As provided for in the Constitutional Law, the use of the adjective in relation to the country, state bodies and public institutions is in accordance with the name of the country or with its abbreviated name and the words “to the Republic of North Macedonia” or “to North Macedonia”. Accordingly, the new name of the country in the future will have to be added to the names of all state institutions, as well as those who have used the adjective so far, such as the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) and the Macedonian radio television (MRTV).

Therefore, there are different interpretations whether the Prespa Agreement entails changing the names of the political entities that have the name of Macedonia in their name. The MP and former leader of DOM Liljana Popovska says that her party’s name remains the same (Democratic Renewal of Macedonia). According to her, with regard to the change of names, the Prespa Agreement is binding only for the state institutions and bodies, especially for those who in their name contain the constitutional name of the state-Republic of Macedonia, and not the adjective “Macedonian”.

– For some institutions that are not fully funded by the state and are part of our tradition, one should find a way to retain their current names, such as MANU or MRT, Popovska says.

She points to Article 7 of the Final Agreement, according to which “the parties accept that their” understanding “of the terms “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” refers to a different historical context and cultural heritage. Regarding our country, these terms, as indicated, denote its territory, language, people and their features, with their own history, culture and heritage.

Therefore, as we have announced, the ruling SDSM is considering changing the name of the party, and one of the options is to be “Social Democrats of North Macedonia”. According to the information, this way SDSM, as the main ruling party, wants to show its relation to the Prespa Agreement, since the party is a member of the Party of European Socialists – a group of leftist parties from the continent. A significant part of the parties in the country, in their name, do not have the name of the country, nor the adjective, such as DUI, Besa, LDP, NSDP… The name of the main opposition party – VMRO-DPMNE, contains the adjective “Macedonian”.