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Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the agreement between Skopje and Athens on the country name

25.01.2019 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (25 January) on the adoption by the Greek Parliament of the name agreement between Skopje and Athens:

This is great news for Europe. Today, the Greek Parliament approved the Prespa Agreement settling the name dispute following its approval by the parliament in Skopje two weeks ago. I welcome these democratic decisions. This clears the way for the Republic of North Macedonia’s accession to NATO and for the opening of accession talks with the EU. We want to support North Macedonia on this path.

This process required a great deal of toil and sweat, and also a few tears. Those in positions of responsibility in Athens and Skopje, especially Prime Minister Tsipras and Prime Minister Zaev, made huge efforts to finally resolve this name dispute. This agreement is also an encouraging example of objectivity, perseverance and courage in politics. And it is a victory for diplomacy.

Background information:

On 25 January 2019, the Greek Parliament approved the Prespa Agreement with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the resolution of the name dispute. The parliament in Skopje had already approved the necessary constitutional amendments in its country. After 27 years of negotiations under the auspices of the UN, Athens and Skopje signed the bilateral agreement settling the name dispute on 17 June 2018. Under this agreement, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be called the Republic of North Macedonia in the future. In return, Greece will no longer block North Macedonia’s accession to NATO or the start of EU accession negotiations with the country.

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