FYROM Considers Referendum for Name Dispute with Greece

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) government, is mulling a plan to hold a referendum over the name dispute with Greece.

According to local media, the FYROM administration deems it would be better if the citizens decided whether or not to accept a new name as a compromise with Greece.

Athens has vetoed the name “Macedonia” as it belongs to a whole region in Northern Greece. Athens is concerned with the possibility that the name “Macedonia” might lead to territorial claims in the future. The veto does not allow FYROM to become a NATO member or join the European Union.

Skopje and Athens representatives Vasko Naumovski and Adamantios Vassilakis, met with the United Nations intermediary Matthew Nimetz in Brussels, and discussed ways of how to enhance cooperation and reach a deal, but no new name was put on the negotiations table.

Macedonia is the name of a northern province in Greece, and Athens is worried that the use of the same name by the neighbouring state, could lead to territorial claims.

“In this phase, we still don’t have a solution. However, as it has been said more than once, it is necessary to have a referendum,” the government’s spokesman, Mile Bosnjakovski told reporters on Thursday.

Also, FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said, that a referendum was part of the electoral programs of all major political parties, therefore the pre-electoral pledge should be kept.

In January, the two sides will resume negotiations. In Greece there was an unsubstantiated report that the name proposed by FYROM is “New Macedonia”.