What Greece has gained from June's name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is that the Balkan country will no longer be widely referred to as “Macedonia” but will instead be called “North Macedonia,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Friday in defense of the agreement.
“Many of my colleague pretend that they haven't been calling it 'Macedonia' these past 15 years. Thanks to our government, it will be called 'North Macedonia' by the Americans as well. That is why we argue that we got the name back rather than giving it away as some say,” Kotzias told Real FM radio.
“Three-fourths of the world has unfortunately recognized the neighboring country as 'Macedonia' and fortunately with this deal it will become 'North Macedonia,” Kotzias stressed, citing the example of America, which does not use the official name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Greece has also gotten a much better bargain than FYROM, Kotzias claimed, because “even though the neighboring country will have to go through a referendum, a constitutional amendment and a name change, it will continue to rely on Greece, since without Greece's ratification of the Prespes agreement, it will not become a member of NATO.”
The Greek foreign minister also expressed certainty that the agreement will be ratified by Parliament in Athens, even though the leftist-led government's coalition partner, nationalist Independent Greeks, has said it will not back the agreement.