The final step to approve the name change of FYROM to “North Macedonia” is expected to be taken this week with the country’s NATO accession protocol to come to Greece’s Parliament on Tuesday and to be voted on a few days after that.
In a message on Twitter on Saturday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg signaled that NATO countries would sign the protocol on Wednesday. “On 6 February we will write history: NATO Allies will sign the accession protocol with the future Republic of North Macedonia together with FM Dimitrov Nikola,” Stoltenberg wrote, referring to FYROM’s foreign minister.
Barring unscheduled motions in Greece’s Parliament, the protocol is to be debated at the committee level on Tuesday and Wednesday, before going to the plenary on Thursday with a vote expected that evening.
As with the Prespes deal between Athens and Skopje, the government is expected to secure approval thanks to the support of a handful of independent and opposition MPs.
The insistence of FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev referring to his country as “Macedonia” in recent weeks has prompted widespread criticism. However, Greek government officials have recommended patience, noting that the name change will be formally approved once the NATO accession protocol is ratified.