Macedonia–Greece Deal Faces Opposition At Home

Though Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have reached a deal regarding Macedonia’s name change, it seems that key actors in both countries’ governments disagree with that deal.

The proposed name, Republic of North Macedonia, has divided the Greek parliament and has not been approved by Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov.

The name change agreement needs to be ratified by the Greek parliament. However, Tsipras’s own coalition does not support the chosen name. The right-wing, populist political party ANEL declared that it would not back any deal between Greece and Macedonia. Via a press conference, ANEL leader and Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos also warned his party members that “anyone who follows a different line will be automatically ousted from the party.”

Without the support of ANEL, the Greek PM will need the votes of the opposition to ratify the Macedonia agreement.

Meanwhile, in Macedonia, President Ivanov condemned the deal as “damaging” and declared that he would not sign it:

The government did not have the strength and courage to initiate the building of a common stance and consensus. The entire process lacked transparency and the end result is a testimony of this. Everything that is sacred to Macedonia is being trampled underfoot.

Opposition parties also accused Prime Minister Zaev of not being transparent and failing to include the opposition in the talks with Greece.

If the Greek parliament and the Macedonian president do manage to ratify the deal, this will mean the end of a 27-year long conflict among the two nations.

The EU and USA have welcomed the agreement and have promised to help facilitate future processes that will bring the nations closer together.