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Analyst on Macedonia Name Change: 'It Definitely Will Be Done'

© AP Photo / Boris GrdanoskiMacedonian flag in front of the government building in Skopje, Macedonia (File)
Macedonian flag in front of the government building in Skopje, Macedonia (File) - Sputnik International
The Macedonian parliament this week will begin the second phase of constitutional change in order to take one step closer to reaching an agreement with neighboring Greece over the name of the country. Sputnik spoke with Author Nikola Mirkovic about it.

Sputnik: Is the Macedonian parliament likely to approve the name change?

Nikola Mirkovic: It definitely will be done; the toughest part is already behind them now. Don't forget, once they went through the constitutional process of changing their name, the rest is just process.

Protesters shout out slogans about boycott referendum on changing the country's name that would open the way for it to join NATO and the European Union in Skopje, Macedonia September 30, 2018 - Sputnik International
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They've already got the two thirds majority of the Macedonian assembly and now they need a simple majority, and they've got the backing of Washington and the EU, so it will go forward and they will attempt to finish it off by the end of the year.

There is some opposition in Greece; one of the opposition to Tsipras who is at the head of the Greek nationalist party has threatened to leave the majority of Tsipras, as he doesn't want to see the name Macedonia even in the new name which has been agreed, so he says no Macedonian name, with the name already being planned to be transformed into the Northern Republic of Macedonia.

If he quits, it could make the Tsipras government collapse, so there is still opposition in Greece.

READ MORE: Macedonia Name Change Vote Held in Violation of All Norms — Moscow

Sputnik: Why is the issue of Macedonia's name so controversial?

Nikola Mirkovic: It is complicated and I understand the positions of both sides. You've got two regions who have been using the name and the Greeks have been using it for a longer time than the people of Macedonia who were part of Serbia and the Ottoman Empire.

They've been discussing this matter for the past twenty one years and I can't take a side. I can understand the Greek position, having a region called Macedonia, it is a little bit itchy to have a neighbouring country which has that same name and which could historically pretend rights to the name that had that land in the region of Greece, so the wisest decision would be to change names or to try something different.

Of course the problem we have today is that the name is being shoved down the throats of the people living there by NATO and by Brussels, who want an agreement so that this country can enter the European Union and NATO. That's the problem; it's that politics are taking over proven historical facts.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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