OPINION

An inevitable blow?

The timing of the USA’s move to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as «the Republic of Macedonia» – and the indelicate way in which it was made known – may have been a surprise to Greece but, if we want to be honest with ourselves, this development had been on the cards for at least the last 10 years. We are all fully aware, from reading foreign newspapers and listening to foreign television channels, that the overwhelming majority refer to our neighboring country by its constitutional name «Macedonia»; that’s just the way it is. The country may be referred to as FYROM in official documents, and Greece may complain every time a foreign official refers to it as «Macedonia,» but there can be no doubt about the fact that this is how it is recognized and referred to all over the world in everyday language. Since the «bombshell» hit us on Thursday, the more clear-headed among us cannot but regret the shortsighted approach to the matter over the past 13 years by successive governments – all of whom postponed a final decision so as not to lose political face – and the fact that the whole affair has blown up into a major domestic problem for no essential reason. Just think that all those who had argued that Greece had no reason to make an enemy of its poor neighbor, that it could turn it into a staunch ally with a few high-minded gestures, had been scorned…