Four days after the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) held an ambiguous referendum on changing the country’s official name, President Gjorge Ivanov criticized the accord signed with Greece in June while accusing the European Union of “double standards.”
“The fact is we had a failed referendum,” Ivanov said during a visit to Prague on Thursday. “You cannot adopt a deal that is subject to a referendum without national consensus,” he said, adding that EU and NATO membership “cannot be an alibi for a poor deal.”
The name deal with Greece – under which FYROM will be called “Republic of North Macedonia” – was overwhelmingly approved in Sunday’s vote but the low turnout prompted opponents to say the result was worthless. A name deal is required to unlock the Balkan country’s door to EU and NATO membership.
Ivanov, who had called citizens of FYROM to boycott the plebiscite, also criticized Brussels of using “double standards,” adding that countries with unresolved bilateral issues were already members of the bloc.
“They were allowed to join the EU,” he said in reference to Slovenia and Croatia. “Macedonia was not even allowed to start entry talks. The EU has so far treated Macedonia unfairly.”