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(03/13/08) -

Macedonians Won’t Give Up Name for NATO

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The vast majority of people in Macedonia are against changing their country’s name to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to a poll by the Center for Research and Policy Making. 82.5 per cent of respondents reject Greece’s condition to support Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The vast majority of people in Macedonia are against changing their country’s name to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to a poll by the Center for Research and Policy Making. 82.5 per cent of respondents reject Greece’s condition to support Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

Greece has insisted that Macedonia is properly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in international organizations. However, more than two-thirds of United Nations (UN) member states—including the United States—have recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name: Republic of Macedonia.

Greece has also expressed concerns over future territorial claims to one of its provinces, which is also known as Macedonia. Despite the controversy, the two countries signed a trade accord in 1995.

In December 2005, the European Union (EU) granted "candidate status" to Macedonia. The country is expected to be invited to join NATO at a summit in April, along with Croatia and Albania. Greece has vowed to oppose Macedonia’s entry into both organizations, unless it does so as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

On Mar. 6, Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis ratified that her country would block Macedonia’s accession to NATO if it fails to change its name, saying, "Unfortunately the policy followed by the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in its relations with Greece, particularly as concerns its intransigent stance and its actions of an irredentist and nationalist logic, do not allow Greece to take the same positive stance as in the case of Croatia and Albania."

At the same time, Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen urged Greece and Macedonia to come to an agreement soon to facilitate the country’s NATO bid, saying, "A name cannot be an objection for the accession of a country."

Polling Data

Should Macedonia change its name to secure accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?

Yes

15.9%

No

82.5%

Source: Center for Research and Policy Making
Methodology: Interviews with 1,100 Macedonian adults, conducted from Mar. 7 to Mar. 9, 2008. No margin of error was provided.