Greek PM faces domestic backlash over Macedonia name deal
ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was accused on Wednesday of surrendering part of his nation’s identity, as a deal he struck to settle a name dispute with Macedonia prompted a barrage of criticism from opposition politicians and media.
Under agreement announced by Athens and Skopje on Tuesday, the Balkan state known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” would hence- forth be called the “Republic of Northern Macedonia”.
The accord would open the way for the small nation’s eventual membership of the European Union and NATO, currently blocked by Greece’s objections to its current name.
But conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called it “deeply problematic”, because the majority of Greeks were against it and Tsipras lacked the political legitimacy to sign it. “We are in a situation that is unprecedented in Greece’s constitutional history. Aprime minister without a clear parliamentary mandate willing to commit the country to a reality which will not be possible to change,” Mitsotakis said.
The accord requires ratification by both countries’ parliaments, and the junior partner in Greece’s coalition, the right wing Independent Greeks party, has said it does not back any deal that gives away the name Macedonia.