A compromise in the Macedonia name dispute?

Skopje and Athens are apparently close to finding a solution in the 27-year-old conflict over the name Macedonia. UN mediator Matthew Nimetz has proposed five alternative names containing the word "Macedonia". In the opinion of some commentators, however, there are other, bigger dimensions to this issue.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Stop postponing Nato and EU accession

Macedonia should finally be allowed to join Nato and the EU instead of being fobbed off with false promises, Jutranji list insists:

“If Macedonia isn't allowed to join Nato as soon as possible and start with EU accession negotiations Russia will have an easy time expanding its influence in the country. If the name conflict is yet again left unresolved the consequences will weigh even more heavily on Macedonia than they have in the past. ... It is often stressed that Macedonia is in the right because Greece should not block its Nato and EU accession on account of bilateral issues. But to no avail. ... It's high time for the EU to get rid of this burden and continue with a normal enlargement process in the region.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Don't ignore the Greek people's anger

The anger of the Greek population must be taken seriously, Kathimerini believes:

“The Greek people feel exhausted and humiliated. One of the mistakes in the early years of the debt crisis was the vindictive stance adopted by foreign creditors towards the country. Their attitude, combined with the financial misery caused by the austerity, generated a lot of tension. The Greeks are angry because they feel that their pride has repeatedly been injured. So perhaps the name dispute was the last straw. A large proportion of the people think it would be crazy for Greece to make concessions to a small and powerless country.”

Kurir (MK) /

Government deceiving the people of Macedonia

If the Macedonian government agrees to a compromise it will be signing its own death warrant, the daily Kurir rails:

“The only, magical, perfect name for our state is Republic of Macedonia. Anything else would be a dumb Greek invention aimed at tormenting the people of Macedonia. The days of foreign minister Dimitrov and the other traitors in government are numbered. Now everything depends on whether the opposition falls into this cunning trap or puts the government's head on the block - both domestically and internationally. But that's what awaits it anyway - regardless of how this dreadful, pointless, useless and tragic national saga over our beautiful name Republic of Macedonia ends.”

To Vima und To Vima Online (GR) /

Time to overcome hysteric nationalism

It's time to heal the wounds caused by the name conflict, To Vima urges:

“It seems that much has changed in Skopje and Greece over the last 25 years, and we hope that conditions are ripe to finally put an end to this hopeless hyper-patriotism. There is a chance that nationalist hysteria can finally be overcome. ... If the current leadership in Skopje means what it says and is really willing to accept a complex name [which includes the term Macedonia] and abandon its irredentist spirit, it would be tragic if certain individuals undermined the agreement for selfish reasons. History will hold them accountable, but so will the Greek citizens who entrusted them with their fate.”

Fokus (MK) /

Macedonia has bigger problems than its name

Macedonia has far more pressing problems than the name dispute with Greece, columnist Winko Gligorov writes in Fokus:

“Let's say we do reach an agreement with Greece in the name dispute - which is doubtful because that would also entail reaching a domestic compromise. Who's supposed to benefit from the change of name if the entire state is in the process of collapse? Shouldn't the politicians' goal be to create a better future for everyone? Or am I wrong? ... Hopefully I am wrong, but if the government doesn't quickly introduce structural reforms Macedonia will be in for a hard time - perhaps even the worst it's ever experienced.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

The right time for a solution

It's time for a compromise in the name dispute between Athens and Skopje, Kathimerini urges:

“The name dispute is a lesson in how not to handle foreign policy, as Greece's political leaders got caught up in a frenzy that they themselves had cultivated. They squandered valuable strategic capital and allowed several important opportunities to slip through their fingers that would have allowed us to have our smaller northern neighbor as a satellite. Now that there is a moderate and pro-European government in Skopje for the first time, conditions appear ripe for a dignified solution. Berlin and Brussels are keen for a breakthrough because they need Europe to score a success.”

Efimerida ton Syntakton (GR) /

Put an end to the pigheadedness

All sides need to show more understanding in the name dispute, Efimerida ton Syntakton admonishes:

“Whether we like it or not, on the basis of international treaties three areas exist that all bear the name Macedonia. ... Our 'own' area is the largest in geographic terms, but that doesn't give us the right to claim it all as our own. The same goes for our neighbouring country. ... There is a Greek and a Bulgarian Macedonia as well as the Slavic one. We should all accept this and just let go. ... Everyone has the right to self-determination as long as it doesn't conflict with the rules and principles of international law.”