The Greece-FYROM name deal appears to have three positive points, but also one serious flaw that may prove instrumental.
The first plus is the fact that Greece will not have to ratify the agreement until the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia does all the work it needs to do, among which is putting the deal to a public referendum.
Second is that the agreement effectively puts an end to ridiculous efforts by the neighboring country to lay claim to ancient Macedonia’s heritage, and thirdly, that all trace of what could be seen as irredentism will be removed from the constitution of FYROM.
The downside of the agreement is that it has not fully ensured universal (erga omnes) use of the new name.
According to Article 7 of the agreement as it stands right now, the rest of the world will be free to refer to the people of FYROM as “Macedonians,” even if we in Greece call them “citizens of North Macedonia.”
Tellingly, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s public announcement of the agreement started with this exact point.
Angelos Syrigos is an associate professor of International Law and Foreign Policy at Athens’s Panteion University.