Even today, the famous Hellenic symbol, the Sun of Vergina, that was withdrawn as an official symbol of the country now known as “North Macedonia” as part of the Interim Agreement signed between Athens and Skopje in 1995, has become the cause of controversy once again.
The mayor of the small town of Kriva Palanka – 100 km from Skopje and located in the northeastern part of the country, Borjancho Micevski, proceeded on May Day (in the middle of quarantine) to observe the Prespa agreement by declaring the removal of the Sun of Vergina from the front of the town hall and “put an end to the spread of the virus of discord,” as he said.
According to the mayor of Kriva Palanka – who was supported by Zoran Zaef ‘s party – (the Social Democratic Union-SDSM) – the official flag of the city, the country and NATO, will be on display, and not the Sun of Vergina.
However, the initiative by Micevski provoked a storm of reactions both from the leader of the official opposition, the ultra-nationalist VMRO-DPMNE and from current and former mayors in the neighbouring country.
The leader of VMRO-DPMNE responded with lyrics of the national anthem of “North Macedonia,” claiming that “they erase the symbol because they do not have a clear conscience. They withdraw it because they think that the sun will no longer exist. But it will rise again. A new sun of freedom is being born today,” said Hristijan Mickoski, leader of the opposition party.
Former mayor of the region Arsenzo Aleksovsky called on Micevski to stop playing with the national feelings of his fellow citizens.
“Greeks can reward you, but our compatriots will despise you,” said the former mayor, describing the move to withdraw the symbol as “criminal.”
On his side was also the current mayor of Kumanov, Maksim Dimitrievski, saying “We can rebuild everything. But we must not play with our history and identity. Vergina was and will be a part of this story and cannot be deleted,” he said, among other things, on social media.
Responding to political reactions, the mayor of Kriva Palanka reminded VMRO-DPMNE officials of the obligations under the Prespa Accord, adding that the withdrawal of Vergina’s sixteen-point Sun had been agreed between the two sides in 1995 with the Interim Agreement.
“This symbol should not have been placed at all. It has not been a symbol of the flag of ‘North Macedonia’ for thirty years, with the exception of a very short period of time. It is now just an informal symbol of VMRO DPMNE and that needs to be made clear,” said the Kriva Palanka mayor.
He also reminded that the specific initiative is part of the observance of the Prespa Agreement – among which provides for the prohibition of the use of symbols of the ancient Greek cultural heritage, such as the Sun of Vergina.
It took nearly three decades for the people of “North Macedonia” to finally acknowledge that the Ancient Macedonians are a part of “Hellenic civilisation, history, culture and heritage,” as confirmed by Article 7 of the Prespa Agreement.
It has been a difficult few weeks for “North Macedonia” as Bulgaria has increased its pressure and demanded that Skopje drop claims that there is a “Macedonian” minority in Bulgaria and to stop claiming the existence of a “Macedonian language,” or else they would veto their accession into the EU, as reported by Greek City Times.