Name deal gaining ground in FYROM, opinion poll shows

Name deal gaining ground in FYROM, opinion poll shows

More than half of the residents of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) agree that the Balkan nation should join NATO and the European Union under the name “Republic of North Macedonia” as part of the deal signed with Greece in June, a recent poll has shown.

In the poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI), 57 percent of respondents said they fully or partially agree with their country using that name to join the two organizations, while 38 percent said they don’t. Overall, 83 percent said they were in favor of FYROM joining the EU while 77 percent said they want it to become a member of NATO.

As part of the deal signed on the shores of Lake Prespes by Greek and FYROM officials, Skopje will change its name to North Macedonia and, in return, Athens will lift its objections to the country becoming a member of the EU and NATO. 

Skopje must also hold a referendum to ratify the deal on September 30, and 49 percent of those surveyed said they would vote in favor of the agreement, compared to 22 per cent who said they would vote against.

Meanwhile, FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov insisted on Wednesday in the European Parliament in Brussels that his country’s residents are “Macedonian” and speak the “Macedonian” language. He said that the term “Macedonia” has different meanings and that there are “Macedonians” in Greece who are distinct from the ones in FYROM.

His comments were seized upon by the spokesperson for opposition New Democracy, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who said they confirm criticism of the name deal, which the conservatives and other opposition parties say surrendered the term “Macedonia.”

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