CLOSE
Loading...
17° Nicosia,
19 March, 2019
 

Changing the constitution of FYROM

The people also need to embrace the essence of a name change – to accept and use the composite name

Athanasios Ellis

Athanasios Ellis

As talks aimed at resolving the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) intensify, it has to be understood by all sides that any name that is agreed should be used domestically as well as internationally.

That is not some “maximalist” demand on Greece’s part.

Agreeing on two separate names, one to be used at home and one internationally, would not prove useful, for practical as well as symbolic reasons.

Simply adopting a composite name for certain international actions and procedures will not suffice.

Simply adopting a composite name for certain international actions and procedures will not suffice

The people of FYROM also need to embrace the essence of a name change – to accept and use the composite name.

That is the only way to prevent nasty surprises that could damage bilateral ties at some point in the future and, by extension, stability in the region.

In other words, a change in the Balkan country’s constitutional name must be a precondition for an overall settlement.

Achieving this will certainly not be an easy task.

FYROM’s present coalition government does not enjoy the necessary two-thirds majority to change the constitution.

Also, the constitution could be yet again changed by a future government or by a potentially different two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Political influence

In light of these concerns, the United Nations and the “powerful” allies and partners who, for various reasons, want to see the issue resolved, could help move the process along if they exercised their influence to make sure that any name agreed between Athens and Skopje is used in all dealings, domestically and internationally.

The deal will also be backed by an international agreement that will provide an extra safeguard that FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has suggested.

Recently Zaev himself said that his country will be expected to make certain changes to its constitution before it can join the EU, as in the process it will have to give up part of its sovereignty to Brussels – like all existing members have done in the past.

Using the right balance of carrots and sticks, the US and the EU could convince the political parties and the people of the neighbouring state, who are keen on joining the EU and NATO, to accept a change in the constitution as this would prove the key to their prosperity and security.

Greece appears ready to go the distance by making significant concessions of its own, even if they do spark reactions at home.

Insisting on a single name for all uses – at home, in bilateral relations and in international organizations – is not too much to ask.

It is the self-evident, decisive step in the direction of a final and sustainable solution.

 

TAGS
FYROM  |  Greece  |  diplomacy  |  Balkans

Comment: Latest Articles

For a strong Europe

For a strong Europe

Does the rest of Europe want to see Germany in a new leading role?
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
Marina Economides explores the nuanced slogan ‘you know why’ to uncover a fundamental lack of political culture

You know why

Lack of political culture goes back years and the alt right is on the rise because of it
Marina Economides
 |  OPINION
Eleni Xenou finds hope in a young man’s life and work on the divided island of Cyprus

This is B’s story

Man's peace effort in Cyprus speaks for itself, going above and beyond fixed notions of the past
Eleni Xenou
 |  OPINION
Andreas Paraschos sees energy opportunities that ought to give rise to a state governed by the rule of law

Game Changer

The time has come for big decisions along with a change in the Cypriot mindset
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Greece will never be able to break the deadlocks unless its politicians come to an understanding and reach an agreement on some radical changes

Wrestling in the Colosseum

Everyone played a part in drenching Greek society in hatred. Some did it for the votes, others for the TV ratings, and others ...
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaking to the Press in Geneva

The Guterres Framework

In an era where the public can change allegiances based on one tweet, sincerity and integrity are greatly appreciated
Yiannis Kafkarides
 |  OPINION
X