Nearly half Greece approves composite name for FYROM

Fifteen years after the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s decision to call itself the «Republic of Macedonia» led to mass rallies by Greeks who saw it as a threat to the northern Greek province of Macedonia, a recent survey shows that 47 percent of Greeks appear to be reconciled to its northern neighbor using a hyphenated name that includes the disputed name. Yet 54.7 percent declare they would still be ready to take to the streets again if the final solution is not satisfactory to Greece. On the other hand, 44.8 percent believe that the recognition of a «Republic of Macedonia» by several other countries is a «distortion of Greek history» and 38.3 percent see it as a «major injustice against Greece on the part of the West.» However, only 21.6 percent believe that it is a «threat to Greece’s national interests.» The results emerged from a survey by Kapa Research for the Center for Political Research and Communication (KPEE) designed to find out how Greeks would like to see their country in 2020 and how they perceive a number of major domestic and foreign policy issues. The center, led by Giorgos Psaltis, has held a number of conferences as part of this project. An interesting result of the survey is the fact that 43.2 percent of those polled characterized themselves as «anti-nationalists;» 31.2 percent declared the opposite. That contrast could explain the conflicting opinions expressed in answers to many of the questions in the poll. Some of these reveal confusion among the public, while others confirm a maturity that seems to have been underestimated, even by politicians. So while 66.9 percent declare themselves to be «very proud to be Greeks,» most of these (35.7 percent) admit that «the people themselves do the most harm to Greece’s image,» and not the politicians (15.8 percent). Also interesting is the fact that while 71.1 percent claim «the European Union would not be what it is without Greek civilization,» 20.5 percent feel that «Greece does not even belong in Europe.» On the other hand, only 29.2 percent believe that «modern Greece is a continuation of the ancient,» while 60.5 percent do not think so. As for irredentism, 59.9 percent cited the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus and 40 percent referred to northern Epirus, which has been part of Albania since after the Second World War. And while 60.2 percent appeared to be amazingly accepting of the idea that one of their children might marry a non-Greek, when asked whom they would not want as neighbors 34.6 percent said Roma, 27.1 percent said Moslems, 25.1 percent mentioned homosexuals and 24.7 percent Jews. These groups trailed only criminals and drug addicts as undesirable neighbors (84.7 percent and 59.3 percent respectively).