The Macedonian Name Referendum

The Macedonian Name Referendum

September 6, 2018

Macedonia EU Greece

Madeconia, FYROM or North Macedonia? The “Macedonian Question” dates back to 19th and early 20th century conflicts over territory, identity, and nationalism in the Balkans.

When the conflicts began over one hundred years ago, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs fought to control the Macedonian territory that the Ottomans had administered for five hundred years. When Yugoslavia took over for much of the 20th century the issue was temporarily put to rest, but the emergence of the independent Republic of Macedonia in 1991 reopened the Macedonian Question.

Greece objects to the use of the name Macedonia, which it claims is a threat to its territory by the same name, and has used its veto power to block Macedonia’s application for membership to NATO and the European Union. In 2018, however, the leaders of the two countries agreed to mutually recognize the Republic of North Macedonia, clearing the way for the newest member of NATO and the EU.

The change is not official, however, as there is a referendum on September 30th to accept or reject the name change. The issue must also be approved by the Greek parliament, which is not a certainty.