Austria’s chancellor is urging the people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian (FYROM) to vote, in a forthcoming referendum, for a deal with neighboring Greece to change their country’s name to “North Macedonia.”
Sebastian Kurz says the European Union will only be complete after western Balkan nations, including FYROM, join it. He also urged the people of FYROM to participate in the September 30 referendum.
The agreement would end a decades-old dispute with Athens, which says FYROM's name implies claims on the Greek province of Macedonia and on ancient Greek heritage. It would also facilitate Macedonia’s EU and NATO accession.
Polls indicate that most citizens back the deal, but it is unclear whether turnout will meet the required 50 percent threshold.
Kurz spoke after talks in Skopje Friday with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Austria holds the EU’s rotating presidency. [AP]