Greece & Macedonia: negotiating history doesn’t make it true

Geopolitical expediency has forced a people to bargain with the only name history has left them. Reflect on this, before again dismissing them as mere instruments of NATO policy.

By Augustine Zenakos

Zoran Zaev, Theresa May and Alexis Tsipras on second day of Western Balkans summit at Lancaster House, London, July 10, 2018.

“When you are having a hard time, you call your friends.” The statement belongs to Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia – soon to be renamed Republic of North Macedonia, if the deal just concluded with Greece is ratified. The fact that Mr Zaev made this statement during a press conference, a few months ago, alongside Wess Mitchell, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, leaves no doubt who he believes his friends to be.

Admission into NATO and the EU has been a staple of FYROM’s foreign policy for years – despite the good relationship that the previous government, headed by Nikola Gruevski, enjoyed with Russia. The current government intensified efforts to be admitted into the Euro-Atlantic system, making quite a few concessions in the long-running naming dispute with Greece, so that Greek objections to FYROM’s NATO and EU memberships could at last be lifted.

The rapprochement would hardly have taken off if US officials had not made it as clear as possible that they supported FYROM’s Euro-Atlantic integration path, as part of NATO’s grand consolidation project in the Western Balkans…

Read more at openDemocracy >>>

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