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Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 

Parliament ratifies name agreement with Greece

Parliament ratifies name agreement with Greece

Skopje, 21 June 2018 (MIA) - Macedonia’s Parliament ratified name agreement with Greece on Wednesday, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note to the Greek counterpart institution, saying that the name agreement has been ratified by the Macedonian Parliament.

After receiving the note, the Greek authorities will inform the European Council that there are no further obstacles in the process of Macedonia's EU accession.

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.

Заев во Собрание

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.

After signing the bill, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi sent it to the Cabinet of President Gjorge Ivanov, who is next to sign.

Иванов обраќање

The President has seven days to decide whether he would sign it.

However, Ivanov has repeatedly said he would neither support nor sign the deal because, in his opinion, it is harmful.

If he vetoes it, Parliament will hold another vote for the bill, which would then need to be adopted by an absolute majority—61 MPs—to become a law.

If the law is passed for the second time, the President is bound by the Constitution to sign it.

President Gjorge Ivanov calls on PM Zoran Zaev to immediately initiate impeachment procedure, highlighting that his position in regard to the name agreement is final and remains unchanged.

“I call on Zaev to immediately initiate impeachment procedure i.e. procedure for determining the President of the Republic's answerability by the same two-thirds majority vote necessary to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia,” Ivanov said in the written statement to media regarding Prime Minister’s statement in Kanal 5 TV station on Tuesday.

Ivo Vajgl, Member of European Parliament (MEP) and Macedonia Rapporteur in the EP, says the EU has sent a message to President Gjorge Ivanov on numerous occasions that Macedonia must look to the future.

MEP Vajgl was quizzed by MIA regarding President Ivanov's stance that he would not sign the bill ratifying the Macedonia-Greece name deal.

"It is an obligation of politics, political parties and the president to take care about the perspectives of young generations of Macedonians. This perspective is most certain in EU and NATO. There must be no dilemma over the stance of the president, who should not be a representative of his political party but the whole of Macedonia and all Macedonians. This is the message for Ivanov. It would be beneficial for Macedonia, but for him too, because people will remember him by his actions," says Vajgl.

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.

The North Atlantic Alliance reached a unanimous political decision today to officially discuss Macedonia's NATO invitation during the Alliance's Summit in Brussels on July 11 and 12, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in Parliament on Wednesday.

Previously, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said NATO hoped to start accession talks at the Summit after Macedonia reached name agreement with Greece.


“I hope that there will be progress with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because they have reached an agreement with Greece on the name issue. If that agreement is finalized and fully implemented, the new name will be the Republic of North Macedonia, and then we can move on when it comes to the membership for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to NATO. I really hope that we can do so,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with France 24.

Following the signing of the Prespa agreement, Greece and FYROM start a new era of friendship, cooperation and stability, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Wednesday's regular press briefing, MIA reports from Athens.

"We support the efforts by Mr. Zaev for the agreement's ratification, followed by the referendum and the constitutional revision, as stipulated so that the deal enters into force. This will be followed by the Greek parliament's ratification," said Tzanakopoulos.


Asked in which way will the Greek government support the Macedonian authorities, Tzanakopoulos said "the support always comes through words and efforts to convince the citizens of the neighboring country that the agreement benefits both states."

He criticized New Democracy over its stance regarding the name agreement, adding that oppositions in both countries have identical positions of playing the card of "alleged patriots and alleged traitors".

"Both oppositions consider the deal as treason. On one hand, Mitsotakis says Tsipras is the traitor, on the other VMRO-DPMNE says Zaev is the traitor. No one is a traitor. We are simply talking about two leaders and two governments that have, for the first time, tread the path of cooperation, friendship and solidarity, joint development of the Balkans by solving a 26-year-old dispute," said Tzanakopoulos.

We will do everything to block the name agreement ratification and we urge for enlarged majority, says Panos Kammenos, leader of the Greek government junior coalition partner Independent Greeks, MIA reports from Athens.


Following a party meeting, Kammenos told reporters that he has asked PM Alexis Tsipras for a ratification of the name deal by 180 MPs instead of a simple majority of 151 votes.

"The Greeks should not be concerned by this draft-agreement. Regarding its ratification, we will use all means to block it," said Kammenos and added that the party would leave the government coalition if Tsipras did not accept the proposal for the deal's ratification by 180 MPs.

He voiced conviction that the agreement would never reach the Greek parliament, because "the Republic of Skopje will never complete its part of the deal."

 потпишување договор

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn welcomed Wednesday the Parliament's ratification of the name agreement.

"I welcome the Parliament's ratification of the name deal. It is the first step of many towards full implementation. I trust all political leaders to show leadership and courage for the next steps," tweeted Hahn.

The agreement will be finally put up for referendum in Macedonia, which should be organized either in September or October. sk/ik/mr/08:43


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