In the Prespes Lake district in northern Greece, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart from FYROM, Nikola Dimitrov, on Sunday, June 18, signed an agreement to change the Balkan country’s name in the presence of their Prime Ministers and foreign officials, to “The Republic of Northern Macedonia.”
In a joint appearance with FYROM premier Zoran Zaev, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the agreement as “patriotic and mutually beneficial,” and stressed the importance of safeguarding it.
On the other hand, Tsipras main opposition party New Democracy said it was a “sad day” for Greece and a day of shame for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Defence Minister Kotzias and the leader of Independent Greeks (ANEL) Panos Kammenos, accusing them of ‘granting FYROM citizens’ the option to call themselves Macedonians and to claim that they allegedly speak the Macedonian language.”
In an announcement on Sunday, the main opposition noted that the Greek people were rightly furious, as they realised that SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner ANEL will stop at nothing to hold on to power, not taking even national interests into account. “No previous government had accepted a Macedonian nation and Macedonian language,” ND said, adding that the 153 deputies that voted against the censure motion are responsible because they have bound Greece to an agreement that creates faits accomplis that will be extremely difficult to reverse.”
The main opposition party’s announcement said that ND will do everything possible to prevent a division among the Greeks and urged the citizens to stay calm and control themselves as public opposition to the deal remains strong, while urging the government to do so the same and accusing it of not realising that it stands opposed to the vast majority of Greeks.
The deal, under which FYROM would be renamed North Macedonia, must now pass a referendum in FYROM and approval in both countries’ parliaments before it can be enforced.