Estonia welcomes Greek endorsement of Macedonia name change

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE). Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (SDE) on Friday welcomed the Greek parliament's decision to endorse the agreement concluded with Macedonia over country's new name.

"This is a historical step that will end a 27-year stalemate. As we can see, patience and diplomacy wins," Mikser said according to a Friday evening press release.

Mr Mikser added that they now expect an official notification from Skopje concerning the name change. Estonia encourages and supports Macedonia's progress towards both NATO and EU membership, he added.

"It is very positive that Euro-Atlantic integration can continue, and we expect today's decision to give an encouraging boost also to other countries of the Western Balkans on their path towards the European Union and NATO. Estonia has always been a strong supporter of further expansion of the Western realm of values," Mr Mikser said.

Greece's parliament decided with 153 to 146 votes on Friday to approve the Prespa Agreement with the government in Skopje, which envisages a change of the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia into Republic of North Macedonia.

The parliament in Skopje voted on 11 January to approve the constitutional amendments to change the country's name. There were no votes against the step.

Those Greeks opposing the Prespa Agreement see it as an appropriation of Greek history and culture, and see it as a potential support of claims on Greek territory. Northern Greece has a province named Macedonia.

The dispute over the name lasted 27 years and has held back Macedonia's progress of integration with NATO and the European Union.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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