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The entanglement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), over the issue of the recognition of the latter and the name under which this recognition would take place, has served as a potent reminder of the considerable influence that nationalistic divides have always exerted in the Balkan region. For Greece, this dispute animated passions and stimulated a nationalist fervor that had been unseen for decades and, remaining a not fully resolved issue, it may contain a number of elements that could serve as a focus of regional conflict in the future. For the fledgling FYROM, the entanglement constituted a matter of paramount importance not merely in defining its external policy but it was also perceived as a matter influencing both its existence as a nation and its future status in Southeastern Europe. This article will attempt an analysis of the dispute between Greece and FYROM, from its beginnings up until the present day. In the first instance, it will trace the origins of the controversy and portray the current dispute as the latest stage in evolution of the Macedonian Question of the past. Furthermore, the diplomatic strategies of the two countries involved will be examined for the 1991-1995 period. In addition, the content and significance of the contentious issues of this debate will be scrutinized. Finally, the factors which contributed to the diplomatic exacerbation of the issue and caused a failure of both countries involved to secure a resolution to the dispute that they would consider "positive" will be analyzed and the repercussions for the Balkan region's short- and long-term geopolitical status quo will be outlined. The focus of the article is the dissection and analysis of the Foreign Policy of Athens regarding the Macedonian question in the post-war period, with particular attention to the years 1991-1995. As such, its ultimate objective is to provide a contribution to the scholarly investigation of the factors influencing Greek Foreign Affairs in the 1990s.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas
I. Introductory Remarks
The entanglement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), over the issue of the recognition of the latter and the name under which this recognition
would take place, has served as a potent reminder of the considerable influence that nationalistic
divides have always exerted in the Balkan region. For Greece, this dispute animated passions and
stimulated a nationalist fervour that had been unseen for decades and, remaining a not fully resolved
issue, it may contain a number of elements that could serve as a focus of regional conflict in the
future. For the fledgling FYROM, the entanglement constituted a matter of paramount importance
not merely in defining its external policy but it was also perceived as a matter influencing both its
existence as a nation and its future status in South-eastern Europe.
This article will attempt an analysis of the dispute between Greece and FYROM, from its
beginnings up until the present day. In the first instance, it will trace the origins of the controversy
and portray the current dispute as the latest stage in evolution of the Macedonian Question of the
past. Furthermore, the diplomatic strategies of the two countries involved will be examined for the
1991-1995 period. In addition, the content and significance of the contentious issues of this debate
will be scrutinised. Finally, the factors which contributed to the diplomatic exacerbation of the
issue and caused a failure of both countries involved to secure a resolution to the dispute that they
would consider 'positive' will be analysed and the repercussions for the Balkan region's short- and
long-term geopolitical status quo will be outlined.
The focus of the article is the dissection and analysis of the Foreign Policy of Athens
regarding the Macedonian question in the post-war period, with particular attention to the years
1991-1995. As such, its ultimate objective is to provide a contribution to the scholarly investigation
of the factors influencing Greek Foreign Affairs up until the present day
The author wishes to thank the Legal Office of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Athens, the Ministry for
Macedonia and Thrace in Thessaloniki, the Press and Information Office of the Greek Embassy in London
and Mr. Papademetriou for the material provided; Dr. E. Divani of the University of Athens and Mr. N.
Ziogas of ELIAMEP for their assistance with the sources; P. Prabhu, Associate of the BDICFA, K.
Karatzas, and Dr. H. Tzimitras-Slade of the Panteion University, Athens, for their comments; Dr. E. N. Van
den Bergh of the UN, as well as Dr. Pag. Kokkinos and Dr. Dal. Efkarpides of the ZZC, for sources of
inspiration; Dr. E. Kofos for his expert advice; and the former Greek Government Ministers Dr. M.
Papakonstantinou, Mr. S. Papathemelis and Mr. A. Samaras for their time and valuable personal insights
into the lesser-publicised aspects of the issue.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
II. The Historical Background of the Macedonian Question.
The geographical term "Macedonia" is a Greek word and was used in antiquity to designate
the area inhabited by the Macedonians, "the tall ones", apparently on account of the distinguishing
physical height of this tribe.
It was thus the inhabitants who gave their name to the region and not
the other way round.
For most of their earlier history, the Macedonians appear to have led a relatively peripheral
existence and were accordingly slow to partake in the intellectual, social and cultural progress of
southern Greece.
The kingdom of Macedonia reached a peak under Philip II (359-336 BC), when
it was enlarged considerably through a series of successful military campaigns and included a large
part of the southern Balkan peninsula. At the time of death of Philip's son, Alexander the Great,
the Macedonians had created a vast empire in Asia and Africa, after spearheading an astounding
military and ideological crusade against the Persians "on behalf of all Greeks".
Slavs first appeared in the region in the 6th century A.D. during the great migrations of the
period, whilst in the Middle Ages various other populations started moving in the area.
Byzantine and Ottoman rule, the term was used in its geographical sense, i.e. it covered the
boundaries of the former four Roman administrative regions of "Macedonia".
This was in fact
larger than "historic Macedonia", the core domain of the 4th century B.C. Macedonian Kingdom,
and was inhabited by a multitude of different Balkan ethnic groups, Turks, Serbians, Bulgarians,
Greeks, Vlachs, Jews and Albanians.
In the crumbling 19th century Ottoman Empire, the increasing breakdown of central
authority led to growing interest in occupied Macedonia amongst the surrounding Balkan nation-
states. The respective national ideologies of these newly-independent countries, in the form of
accurate or arbitrary historical, ethnological and political claims, began to converge on the
The ethnic name is derived from the adjective µακεδνός occurring already in Homer (Odys. η 106). See
Andriotes (History of the Name 'Macedonia) at p. 143. For a discussion of the ethnic origin of the
Macedonians see Andriotes (The Language and Greek Origin of the Ancient Macedonians). Using
arguments based on linguistic analysis to support the Greek side of the argument, Hadjidakis (Du Caractère
Hellénique de la Macèdoine).
The ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians has been a matter of heated debate for some time. Based on
Demosthenes’ philippics (where Philip was denounced as an uncouth semi-barbarian) some sources have
denied any ethnic connection between the Macedonians and other Greeks. Nevertheless, it appears that
currently most serious researchers do not seem to question the hellenism of the Macedonians, as members of
the Doric tribe. For an exposé of the argument: Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou, p. 3 et seq.; with detailed
discussion, Wardle ; also Sakellariou pp. 44-47; Martis at p. 20 et seq; cf. also fn 3 infra. With details, the
book by Poulton (Who are the Macedonians?).
See inter alia Martis, pp. 53-71; Ellis & Walbank; but also Pribichevich, pp. 37-64.
For more see Libal, p. 15 et seq.; Pribichevich, pp. 65-93; Christophilopoulou; Bucar, p. 8 et seq.
The Ottomans never used the name Macedonia as an administrative (or ethnic) appellation; cf. Papazoglou;
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
heterogeneous province and the ensuing tension precluded any hope of consensus when the time to
redraw the borders of that "microcosm of Balkan complexities"
would come. The eventual
annexation of the largest possible portion of geographic Macedonia became thus pivotal in the
nationalist and irredentist plans of Bulgaria
, Greece
and Serbia and a fundamental consideration of
their national consciousness. Chronologically, the Macedonian Problem in its original form may be
said to begin with the founding of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870.
This was perceived as an initial
step to establish a distinct -Bulgarian- national identity for the Slav-speaking populace and it was
further pursued by the founding of schools and by indulging in vigorous propaganda.
growing activity of the Bulgarians alarmed Serbia and Greece, which decided in turn to mobilise in
this cultural cold war. By 1900 educational indoctrination had given way to more acute measures as
the Bulgarian-backed I.M.R.O.
embarked on an armed campaign with bands of guerrillas, the
The other two countries responded by organising combatant groups of their own
, and
from 1903 to 1908 a ruthless and protracted struggle took place amongst the Balkan Christians in
territory belonging formally to the Turks, who had limited success -and, arguably, equally limited
interest- in containing the conflict.
The Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 ended the Ottoman rule.
After successfully stripping the
Ottoman Empire from almost all her European possessions, the Balkan alliance broke up and
Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece in a clash over the spoils. The Bulgarians were severely
defeated in the Second Balkan War and the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) confirmed the final
partitioning of the Macedonian region amongst the Balkan neighbours. Greece annexed 51.5% of
geographic Macedonia
, Bulgaria gained 10.1% and the remaining 38.4% became part of the
kingdom of Serbia, under the name Southern Serbia.
Kofos E., (National Heritage and National Identity in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Macedonia), p. 4.
E.g. the book by Tachiaos.
See concluding chapter by Veremis; also Kitromilides; Kofos, (Dilemmas and Orientations of Greek Policy in
Macedonia: 1878-1886).
Zotiades at p. 13.
See Klok, (De Macedonische Kwestie).
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation, as the Vatresna Makedonska Revoljucionenna Organizacija
(V.M.R.O.) is internationally known.
For a Slav-Macedonian view of IMRO, the 'Macedonian Revolution' and the Macedonian Struggle (cultural and
military), see Pribichevich, pp. 106-135; also Bucar, pp. 90-104.
Cf. Koliopoulos; for a chronological account see Papakonstantinou, (I Makedonia meta ton Makedoniko Agona),
pp. 38-53.
Kofos, (The Fight for Freedom 1830-1912); see also Dakin p. 73 et seq.
For a fascinating contemporary description of the ethnic and religious mix of peoples in Macedonia right after the
end of Ottoman rule, see the 1913 National Geographic report of Villari.
It must be noted that Greece secured not only the largest part of the geographic region of Macedonia, but also
approximately 90% of the historic core of ancient Macedonia; Voros, (The Macedonian Question of our
Zotiades, p. 29, fn. 73.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
In the meantime, a curious twist to the original 'Macedonian Question' evolved. Until that
time the term 'Macedonian' had never been used by any of the three countries involved,
, or any
segment of the actual population, as anything other than a geographic definition.
In the interwar
period however,
the term began to be put to use for the first time as an ethnic description,
serving as a fabrication to promote Comintern's aspirations to increased regional influence.
The crucial step was taken in 1944 by the Yugoslav leader Tito, when he implemented the
decision to create a new federal state consisting of six republics. He gave to the southernmost
province, previously known as Vardarska Banovina (i.e. District of [the river] Vardar), the new name
of People's Republic of Macedonia.
This republic was made a constitutive of federal Yugoslavia
and its Slavic inhabitants -known until then as ethnic Bulgarians or Serbs- were recognised as its
'titular nation'
under the name Makedontsi (Macedonians). Their language, which was until then
held to be a western Bulgarian dialect, was christened 'Macedonian'
and became one of
Yugoslavia's official languages.
This was a political masterstroke on behalf of Tito. He managed to safeguard for Yugoslavia
a region which had been claimed by Bulgaria ever since the Second Balkan War,
and at the same
time to create a Piedmont that could facilitate the unification of the remaining Macedonian
territories into the Yugoslavian federation.
An extensive 'Macedonisation' process was initiated so
as to instil a distinct national identity in the awareness of the population; numerous Greek and
Bulgaria, aligning with the Central Powers in WWI and with the Axis in WWII, occupied Serb and Greek
Macedonia on both occasions; ibid., pp. 72-76; See e.g. Klok, (De tweete Macedonische Kwestie).
Recapitulating Voros, (Different uses of the term Macedonia in the Centuries of History); for the Greek side see
Mackridge & Yannakakis (The development of a Greek Macedonian identity since 1912)..
The Bulgarian part never assumed the Macedonian name. During the interwar years it was known as the Pirin
district, whereas after the Second World War it was given the administrative name of the Blagoevgrad Okrug.
See the article by Kofos, (The Macedonian Question: The Politics of Mutation).
"The struggle for a united and independent Macedonian republic of the working people is a worthy cause",
Resolution of the Communist International on the Macedonian Question and the IMRO (United) -1934, in:
Kondis B. et al (eds.), p. 23; see also Papakonstantinou M., (I Makedonia meta ton Makedoniko Agona), p.
13 et seq; Voros, (Macedonian Question of Neighbours), p. 39 et seq.; but from the Bulgarian point of view,
see Misirkov.
Zotiades, pp. 77-82; Kofos, (The Making of Yugoslavia's People's Republic of Macedonia). In 1963 the
People's Republic of Macedonia’
was renamed ‘Socialist Republic of Macedonia’.
On the notion of 'titular nation', see Bremmer & Taras (eds.), p. 5.
Until the mid-20
century, linguists understood under ‘Macedonian language’ the ancient dialect spoken in the
area, widely considered to be a form of ‘pre-Greek’. See inter alia the (celebrated as co-discoverer of Linear Script
B) J. Chadwick (The Prehistory of the Greek Language).
And reinforced by military occupation during both wars; about the Macedonian policy of Bulgaria in the period
after World War II, see Zotiades, pp. 94-100; on Serbia see Michailidis (Serbian Claims in Macedonia
between the Wars).
"The fighting Piedmont of Macedonia has fiercely proclaimed that it will not stint on support or sacrifice for the
liberation of the other two segments of our nation and for the general unification of the entire Macedonian
people", Report of the Organising Committee of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation of
Macedonia (ASNOM) concerning its activity from its foundation to its first session (2.VIII.1994), Kondis et
al (eds.), p. 35; See Zotiades, pp. 83-90; Leontaritis, p. 21; Pribichevich, p. 145 et seq.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
Bulgarian historical and cultural elements were appropriated,
whilst the younger generations
started to be systematically infused with irredentist views of a Greater Macedonia and of their as yet
'unliberated brothers'. Tito's immediate plans for annexation of the Bulgarian and the Greek parts
of Macedonia were respectively thwarted by the clash with Moscow in 1948
and the termination of
the communist-induced ferocious civil strife in Greece in 1949.
At the same time, the reaction of Greece to this attempted provocation was remarkably
lukewarm and remained so for more than four decades. The reasons for this lie in the following:
a) From 1944 until 1949, the internal situation in Greece was hardly suitable for the planning
and implementation of a coherent foreign policy due to the instability caused by the civil war that
was ravaging the country.
b) In the final phase of the civil strife, Tito's decision to close the Greek-Yugoslav border and
discontinue the aid to the insurgents proved a major factor in ending the conflict in favour of the
Athens-based government. Even though this was not a result of any deference on Belgrade's part
towards the Greek government but for other reasons, the latter had a strong incentive not to stress
the point of the southernmost province's name at the time.
c) After Yugoslavia broke with the Eastern Bloc and adopted a non-aligned stance in the
1950s, Greece came under fierce pressure by the U.S.A. to normalise relations with her northern
neighbour and refrain from stirring up mischief in the future, as Yugoslavia was perceived to be a
strategically important buffer state in the soft underbelly of the Warsaw Pact.
d) As the tension with Turkey escalated in the postwar period, it was important for Greece to
secure its 'northern front' in order to focus on the periculum ex oriente.
e) Furthermore, as Orthodox Serbia had been the traditionally friendly agent for Greece in
the otherwise insecure Balkan peninsula, a rapprochement with the (Serb-dominated, after all)
Yugoslavia would seem inevitable in order to ensure at least one ally in the area. Thus for example,
Belgrade's positions on the Cyprus issue were always recognised as 'encouraging' by the Greek side.
f) With the state of war against Albania perpetuated and Bulgaria technically an enemy
country, Greece's only overland connection with mainland Europe passed through the territory of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Kofos, (National Heritage and National Identity), p. 20, comments on the "Yugoslav Macedonian
historiographers, who could labour with equal ease in the annals of history and the world of fantasies".
Zotiades, pp. 91-93.
For the influence of the Macedonian Controversy on the Greek civil war, see Kofos, (The Impact of the
Macedonian Question on Civil Conflict on Greece); also Kondis; informative background to be found in
See Klok, (De tweete...), p. 4.
For the Greco-Yugoslav relations in the 1950s, see Zotiades, pp. 101-107; also Stefanidis, (The US, GB and the
Greek-Yugoslav Rapprochement)..
Giakoumis, p. 443.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
g) "The alien Slav element, as a result of its role during the Occupation and the civil war, had
left [Greece] en masse and the prospect of its manipulation by a neighbouring country to threaten the
security and territorial integrity of [Greece] had been removed."
h) Greece could operate as a strategic dyad with Yugoslavia, blocking the approach of
Warsaw Pact troops to the Mediterranean in the event of widespread hostilities, thus manyfold
enhancing the vital bargaining potential of either country individually.
Thus, Greek reaction in so far as the new 'Macedonian Question' was concerned remained,
until the end of the 1980s, -at best- restrained, and after 1950 the standard cliché about the
'traditional friendship' of the two peoples was reiterated at every opportunity by any public
statement or analysis concerning bilateral Greek-Yugoslav relations.
Abroad, however, a major
cultural campaign was launched, capitalising on Yugoslavia's privileged position in the non-aligned
A significant programme of translations from Macedonian into the most important
world languages was initiated, along with the organisation of international conferences and the
generous dissemination of S.R.M. books in prestigious academic institutions,
especially in
countries with multicultural credos such as Canada and Australia.
Hence, a de facto recognition of a Macedonian ethnic entity had been attained internationally
by 1970 already.
And, in spite of the occasional irritated protest from the Greek public opinion in
the late 1980s, the inescapable conclusion was now that this "newly-established 'Macedonian' nation
could rightfully stake a claim to everything Macedonian; i.e. everything of, or pertaining to the
region of Macedonia and its inhabitants."
III. The Diplomatic Struggle following the Dissolution of Yugoslavia
In the post-Tito Yugoslavia it soon became apparent that the initiative had passed to the
individual republics and the delicate balances that had held the system together for forty years had
been upset. The collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the arising turmoil accelerated the
This is a manifestly untrue statement of course but it remained one of the mainstays for Greek propaganda for
almost half a century. It is quoted here as found in the “Statement by the Head of the Greek Delegation” in:
Reply of the Yugoslav Intervention at the Plenary Session of June 22, 1990; C.S.C.E., Conference on
Human Dimension, Offprint, Athens: ELIAMEP, 1991, at p. 355.
Kofos, (Greece and the Balkans in the '70s and '80s), p. 8.
Ibid., p. 7.
Bilateral cultural agreements of third countries with Yugoslavia were sure to include a pro-Macedonia proviso;
see Kofos (National Heritage and National Identity), p. 29.
With details, Martis, p. 104 et seq.
Kofos, (National Heritage and National Identity), p. 32.
An illuminating personal anecdote is mentioned by Martis, at p. 101.
Kofos, (Politics of Mutation), at p. 170.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
centrifugal tendencies.
On 23 December 1990 a referendum in Slovenia supporting independence,
triggered off the chain of events that led to the dissolution of the Federal Socialist Republic of
Yugoslavia. In a similar referendum on 8 September 1991
, a large majority in the Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia
voted in favour of independence and the Republic duly declared its
sovereignty on 17 September 1991.
At the same time, it started seeking international recognition
as the 'Republic of Macedonia'. The Greek government had been expecting this eventuality, after
the eruption of fighting in the north of Yugoslavia earlier in the year had signalled that the
federation's days were numbered.
But for the Greeks in general it was a tremendous jolt, as they
suddenly realised in 1991 that a new state was about to appear at their northern frontier with a
name which they had thought to be unquestionably theirs. Greece had spent the last two years
entangled in a paralysing internal squabble and successive general elections that had nurtured severe
introspection and had delayed the readjustment of foreign policy to the novel exigencies of post-
iron-curtain realities in Europe. So, the Greek public opinion arose excitedly in a forceful campaign
against the new state intended to compel it to relinquish all linguistic and symbolic connections with
Greek history; and the 'Macedonian issue' entered a new chapter of its history.
On 16 December 1991, the Council of Ministers of the European Community met to
consider the de jure recognition of the breakaway former Yugoslav republics in Brussels. The
Foreign Minister A. Samaras put forward the position of the Greek side concerning FYROM
centring on objections against the use of the name 'Macedonia', the likelihood of future territorial
claims and the hostile propaganda emanating from certain circles in Skopje.
At the time, with
attention focused on the recognition of Slovenia and Croatia and the convoluted negotiations
regarding the Treaty on European Union
, Samaras, at the end of a marathon session, had little
difficulty in persuading the Council to adopt the Greek views and include them in the resulting
After this initial success, the favourable opinion of the Badinter Commission -which
An example of the slackening of central control and the consequent unleashing of hitherto latent nationalist trends
are the sharp clashes between the Greek and Yugoslav delegations during the C.S.C.E. conferences on
Human Dimension (Copenhagen 1990, Moscow 1991) over allegations of maltreatment of the 'Macedonian'
minority in northern Greece; statements by the Head of the Greek delegation in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), at
pp. 23, 43.
For the results of the referendum , ibid., p. 38.
In March 1991 the Socialist Republic of Macedonia had dropped the 'Socialist' from its name and remained, as
the 'Republic of Macedonia', a part of the Yugoslav federation.
Declaration of Independence of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 40.
The President of the Republic of Macedonia, the former communist Kiro Gligorov, had been initially favourable
to association within a 'New Yugoslavia', a fact that had seemingly reassured Athens too much.
To avoid confusion through the use of varied nomenclature, the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be
subsequently referred to as FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), a name it officially
adopted however only after its recognition by the United Nations in 1993.
In the November 1990 elections in FYROM the notoriously nationalistic V.M.R.O. (resurrected I.M.R.O.)
emerged as the largest party in Parliament and, although it remained in the opposition, its stalwart
antihellenic outlooks were to become a notable influence on Skopje's policy.
For some of the background of this meeting, see Axt; Alendar, pp. 1009-1011
"The Community and its Member States also require a Yugoslav Republic to commit itself, prior to recognition,
to adopt constitutional and political guarantees ensuring that it has no territorial claims towards a
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
endorsed FYROM's recognition
- was also set aside and a ferocious diplomatic struggle
commenced between Athens and Skopje. Both President Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Samaras
engaged in correspondence with the European partners outlining Greece's argumentation
, whilst
north of the border it was realised that this was going to be a hard fight.
Amidst intensifying Greek passions towards FYROM's unyielding stand, the Foreign Minister
clarified the Greek views at the Lisbon EC Foreign Minister Council on 17 February 1992. The
Portuguese EC Presidency that undertook to explore the prospects of resolving the impasse, came
up with a draft deal (the so-called 'Pineiro package'
), which was rejected as there was no agreement
on the name ("New Macedonia" had been put forward). Later, at the Guimaraes Council of
Ministers it was decided that the Member States "are willing to recognise [FYROM] as a sovereign
and independent state, within its existing borders, and under a name that can be accepted by all
parties concerned".
The zenith of the Greek Foreign Policy’s effectiveness during the dispute with FYROM was
achieved at the European Council of Lisbon on 27 June 1992. The past semester of intense Greek
diplomatic activity had been fruitful and the Community finally formulated a position whereby it
was to recognise FYROM in accordance with the December 1991 declaration and only "under a
name which does not include the term Macedonia".
In Greece, public opinion was jubilant, but in
Skopje the blow toppled the government. The hardliners emerged vindicated and during the rest of
1992 the situation was methodically exacerbated by both sides: in August, FYROM adopted the 16-
point Star of Vergina as the emblem on the national flag and in September, the new school
textbooks that were circulated were laden with irredentist references to "Greater Macedonia" and
claims on hellenic cultural heritage; on the other hand, Greece intensified a selective embargo on
fuel and commodities.
As the European front appeared unreceptive at the moment, the FYROM government
decided to seek recognition elsewhere and on 30 July 1992 applied directly to the United Nations
neighbouring Community State and that it will conduct no hostile propaganda activities versus a
neighbouring Community State, including the use of a denomination which implies territorial claims" (our
italics); Extraordinary EPC Ministerial Meeting: Declaration on Yugoslavia, Brussels, 16.XII.1991, in
Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 50.
This Commission was to consider the conformity of the individual Yugoslav Republics to the conditions that the
Community had set for recognition; see FYROM's reply to the Badinter Commission questionnaire,
29.XII.1991, ibid., p. 54; Badinter Commission Report No. 6 (Re: FYROM), 11.I.1992, ibid., p. 65.
See letters of Karamanlis to the EC Heads of Government, 3.I.1992, ibid., p. 63; and to Italy's PM G. Andreotti,
21.I.1992, ibid., p. 83; letter of Samaras to the EC Foreign Ministers, 17.I.1991, ibid., p. 72.
From the name of the Portuguese Foreign Minister who negotiated it; 'Pineiro package', ibid., p. 87.
Council of Ministers - Guimaraes decision, ibid., p. 94.
Lisbon European Council, Conclusions of the Presidency, Annex II, 26-27.VI.1992, ibid., p. 100. It appears that
in exchange for EC support on the Macedonian issue, Greece promised to ratify the Maastricht treaty,
participate in sanctions against its traditional ally Serbia, and ratify the EC financial protocol with Turkey.
Cf. Perry (Une crise en Gestation? La Macédoine et ses voisins).
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
for recognition.
But time was running against the Greeks now. The European press was starting
to rally clearly in support of the little fledgling state, whilst Skopje was using every conceivable
diplomatic means to curtail Athens' international backing. The EC Member States were not hiding
their uneasiness and possible second thoughts over the 'Macedonian issue' and a break in the
solidarity of the EC seemed forthcoming
as the Edinburgh European Council gave a very
watered-down assurance of continued support to the Lisbon declaration.
The situation was
declining rapidly in FYROM, which was facing problems with the large Albanian minority and
dreaded a southward expansion of the war raging in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Besides, the economy
was in a dismal state, caught in a stranglehold between the U.N. sanctions against the rump
Yugoslavia to the north and the Greek measures to the south, and with no hope of securing World
Bank/International Monetary Fund aid without prior recognition. However, these weaknesses were
exploited successfully as a bargaining chip, since the last thing that anyone wanted was an additional
crisis in the Balkan region.
In anticipation of the United Nations decision on the admission of
FYROM, Athens resumed diplomatic efforts in the final months of 1992, seeing FYROM's U.N.
membership as inevitable but attempting to avert the worst.
In January 1993 the Greek
Government submitted a 16-point memorandum to the Security Council
, denouncing FYROM's
intransigence and "destabilising influence in the region". It also contained attachments of the
'Greater Macedonia' maps printed in FYROM, of the Vergina Star on its flag etc. Gligorov's
government duly counter-attacked on 3 February with a memorandum accusing Greece of
recalcitrant behaviour and of "exerting destabilising influence in the region"...
The Security Council accepted the new republic's application by resolution 817/1993 and
recognised it under the provisional name 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'. For the first
time in the history of the Organisation a state had been admitted under a temporary name,
especially in view of the fact that all the federative states of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia
which had recently become independent members had retained the name which they had within the
See FYROM's Reaction to the Lisbon European Council Decision, 3.VII.1992, in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p.
103; and President Gligorov's Letter to the U.N. Secretary General, ibid., p. 106.
See e.g. Karamanlis' Letter to the Heads of Government of the EC, 24.X.1992, ibid., p. 108, where he professes
his surprise over "the incomprehensible tendencies within the Community towards a review of the Lisbon
Edinburgh European Council, Conclusions of the Presidency, Section D -External Relations, 11-12.XII.1992,
ibid., p. 123.
Although this was later eclipsed by the events in 2001 (Operation ‘Necessary Harvest’), it is useful to be
reminded that already in December 1992, 1000 UNPROFOR soldiers (including 300 U.S. troops) were
moved to FYROM in order to prevent "possible developments which could undermine confidence and
stability in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or threaten its territory"; Security Council
Resolution 705(1992) of 11.XII.1992, authorising establishment of an UNPROFOR presence in FYROM.
For a behind-the-scenes overview of this mobilisation see the article by the then Foreign Minister
Papakonstantinou, (I Eisdohi ton Skopion ston OIE).
Memorandum of Greece concerning the Application of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for
Admission to the United Nations, 25.I.1993, A/47/877 (agenda item 19), S/25158; published with
attachments, Athens: ELIAMEP, 1993.
Memorandum regarding the admission of the Republic of Macedonia in the U.N. and the Greek Memorandum
trying to prevent it, 3.II.1993, in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 138.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
federations. Greece also managed to hinder the flying of the offensive FYROM flag at the U.N.
and to secure a recommendation that the difference over the name be resolved "in the interest of
the maintenance of peaceful and good-neighbourly relations in the region".
The decision
produced a lot of disapproval in the Greek public opinion and it was regarded as a failure by the
increasingly vociferous nationalists. The Government was caught in a cul-de-sac trying to abate the
national fervour that had been unleashed at home
and to improve the by now increasingly
tarnished image of the country abroad.
In implementation of the 817/1993 resolution, a round of negotiations intended to devise
Confidence Building Measures was initiated by the Co-Chairmen of the Steering Committee of the
International Conference on the former Yugoslavia, C. Vance and Lord Owen. On 14 May they
submitted a draft plan for an agreement on the contentious issues (emblems, constitution,
propaganda), but this fell through again on account of the suggested name (Nova Makedonija:
unacceptable to both sides).
Later the same month, the Greek Government extended a
compromise proposal with the name 'Slavomakedonija', the first time that the firm position against
the use of any compound name to include 'Macedonia' was waived.
This was equally unsuitable
for FYROM, since its inhabitants are far from being homogeneously slavic, and further mediation
was deferred until after the Greek elections in October 1993.
IV. The elements of contention
An appraisal of the elements of contention between Greece and FYROM can be helpful in
elucidating the extent to which the historical components of the Macedonian question commingled
with current geopolitical and strategic necessities in order to formulate the issues of the dispute.
Both sides had certainly demonstrated few signs of coming to a compromise over these issues, but
often inflamed the situation further instead. Greece had been taking exception with fluctuating
rigour to the use of the Macedonian name and the promulgation of a 'Macedonian' nation since the
Letter of the President of the Security Council to the U.N. Secretary-General, 7.IV.1993, ibid., p. 149.
Security Council Resolution 817(1993), S/25855.
See e.g. Papakonstantinou, (I Eisdohi ton Skopion...), p. 26 et seq.
The U.N. recognition of FYROM was one of the factors that contributed significantly to the fall of the Nea
Dimokratia government.
Papakonstantinou, (Ellada kai Skopia -Metra Oikodomisis Empistosynis) suggests that this plan would have been
a very positive outcome for Greece at the time; see rejecting letter to the U.N. Secretary-General by
Gligorov, 29.V .1993, in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 162.
Letter of G. Papoulias (re: the Vance-Owen plan), 27.V.1993, S/25855/add. 1.
Vance announcement: U.N. Press release SG/SM/5111, 28.IX.1993.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
end of the war, but it was during the 4 December 1991 meeting of the Government cabinet in
Athens that the objections to FYROM's recognition took their final form.
1. The controversial articles of the FYROM Constitution. In November 1991, FYROM
adopted a new constitution containing clauses that Greece found objectionable. The drafting of the
constitution was strongly influenced by the strongest party in the Parliament, the nationalist
VMRO, and subscribed to a number of the proclamations in its electoral manifesto.
In particular,
the Preamble to the Constitution
underlines its ideological affinity to the principles of the
Krushevo Republic (1903)
and of the Antifascist Assembly of the National Liberation of
Macedonia (A.S.N.O.M., 1944), regarded as the first steps towards the creation of an independent
'Macedonian nation'. In these declarations direct reference is made to the annexation of
Macedonian territory belonging to Greece and Bulgaria and to the resistance of the people against
the Balkan imperialists who carved up Macedonia in the early part of the century.
Art. 3 of the
Constitution was also a major point of contention.
It originally referred to FYROM's territory as
being indivisible and inalienable but, in the amendments made on 6 January 1992, paragraphs (c)
and (d) were added in an effort to conform to the Badinter Commission's criteria. Paragraph (c)
was held by Greece to imply territorial claims against neighbouring states as, in conjunction with the
Preamble, it could supply the legal basis for the annexation of territories in the future. This
however should be read in light of paragraph (d), which expressly rejected any such claims. Finally,
Art. 49 was seen as nurturing a climate of irredentism in FYROM as well as creating an excuse for
the Republic to interfere with the internal affairs of Greece under the pretext of a constitutional
duty to assist a 'Macedonian' minority.
Again, the 1992 amendments explicitly renounced any such
Libal, p. 132.
Compare the disputed articles of the Constitution with some of the principles contained in the V.M.R.O.
manifesto, November 1990 in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 34.
" Resting upon the historical, cultural, spiritual and statehood heritage of the Macedonian people and upon its
centuries long struggle for national and social freedom as well as for creation of its own state, and
particularly upon the statehood-legal traditions of the Krushevo Republic and the historical decisions of the
Antifascist Assembly of the People's Liberation of Macedonia and the constitutional-legal continuity of the
Macedonian state as a sovereign republic within Federal Yugoslavia, upon the freely manifested will of the
citizens of the Republic of Macedonia on the referendum of September the 8th, 1991, as well as upon the
historical fact that Macedonia is established as a national state of the Macedonian people...", as quoted ibid.,
p. 47.
Cf. the sources in: Bozhinov & Panayotov (eds.), p. 498 et seq.
Manifesto issued at the First Session of A.S.N.O.M. to the People of Macedonia, 2.VIII.1944, in Kondis et al
(eds.), p. 36; FYROM's President Gligorov has signed the A.S.N.O.M. declarations as a member of the
" a. The territory of the Republic of Macedonia is indivisible and inalienable.
b. The existing borders of the Republic of Macedonia are inviolable.
c. The borders of the Republic of Macedonia could be changed only in accordance with the Constitution,
and based on the principle of voluntariness and generally accepted international norms.
d. The Republic of Macedonia has no territorial claims against neighbouring states.", Art. 3 of the FYROM
Constitution as quoted in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds), p. 47; the January 1992 amendments are in italics.
" a. The Republic takes care of the status and rights of the members of the Macedonian people in
neighbouring countries, as well as of emigrants from Macedonia, assists their cultural advancement and
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
To an outside observer, the arguments of Greece as regards the 1991 Constitution did not
appear very convincing. Assuming that there was ground for fear that these expansionist claims
were being harboured by FYROM's basic charter, the 1992 amendments had adequately removed it,
on paper at least. If on the other hand, as the Greek Government maintained, Balkan politics are
hardly straightforward and even an express claim of non-interference should not be taken at face
value, then why bother about constitutional provisions at all? As long as Athens remained
convinced that the malevolent intent of Skopje was going to manifest itself in the future despite the
'express safeguards' originally introduced by the 1992 amendments, the logic of still pursuing
constitutional alterations escaped the outside observer. This is not to say that it FYROM's
undertaking in the 1995 interim agreement to amend the controversial articles once again was not a
significant step forward, but in retrospect, if Skopje had in a sense managed to create the perception
that any claims on Greece had already been absolved by the 1992 amendments, then the insistence
in convoluted legal-historical arguments effectively weakened the overall Greek position.
2) Symbols, Propaganda and the Minority Issue. Numerous maps, car stickers and posters
had been circulated in the new Republic, portraying a 'Greater Macedonia', i.e. the whole of
geographic Macedonia stretching south to Mt. Olympus, as the historic homeland of the
'Macedonians' in FYROM.
These had been issued by private or semi-official sources (e.g. the
V.M.R.O.) and were used by Greece as proof of the territorial aspirations against her northern
provinces. The FYROM government authorities however have always disavowed themselves from
this and tried to diffuse the matter as either the work of a few extremists or the direct popular
reaction to Greece's relentless attempts to smother FYROM. More troublesome, because of its
official origin, appeared to be the inclusion of similar maps in the school textbooks of history
published in 1992 and 1993. These created the impression that all Macedonian heritage belongs
rightfully to FYROM and that there exist unliberated territories within the boundaries of Bulgaria
and Greece that have been stolen from the motherland.
One of the main weapons in the bilateral propaganda struggle was the vexed issue of the
existence of a Slavic minority in Greek Macedonia. The policy of Athens in the last five decades
has been a staunch denial of the existence of any such minority, however small. Especially after
independence however, FYROM repeatedly raised the matter in international fora, demanding that
promotes the links with them. The Republic shall not interfere in the sovereign rights of other states and
their internal affairs.
b. The Republic takes care of the cultural, economic, and social rights of the citizens of the Republic
abroad", Art. 49 of the FYROM Constitution as quoted ibid., p. 47; the January 1992 amendments are in
See a collection in "Borders, Symbols, Stability", Athens: Citizens' Movement, 1993.
An examination of 12 new textbooks of history and geography is made by Kofos, (The Vision of a 'Greater
Macedonia': Remarks on FYROM's new school textbooks).
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
Greece respect the fundamental human rights of this long-suffering minority
and recognise its
'Macedonian' status.
The existence and the numbers of the Slav minority in Greece
became one
of the major issues in the ensuing bedlam,
especially as Skopje was fleet to employ the Greek
objections to Art. 49 of the Constitution as implied evidence for the real numerical strength of the
Finally in August 1992, the Parliament of FYROM adopted as an emblem on their flag the
sixteen-pointed Star of Vergina, the symbol of the ancient Macedonian dynasty.
This move was
not only historically questionable but was also regarded as a gross national slur by the incensed
public opinion in Greece.
It had been suggested at the time that what prompted the adoption of
the Vergina Star was a desire from Skopje's part to advance maximalist objectives in order to barter
with them for other concessions at the negotiating table when the time comes.
The bilateral
negotiations that followed the 1995 interim accord justified this view.
3) The use of the name. Undoubtedly, all the above points of friction were accessory and
appurtenant to the crux of the whole dispute, the name of the new state. The bases for the Greek
reasoning were historical, ethnological and geographical and have been broadly outlined above.
Indeed, if strict archaeological and historical exactness is sought, one may regard as an oxymoron
the use of the term 'Macedonian' by a slavic people. Moreover, the heritage and culture of the
much wider geographic region runs the risk of becoming soon monopolised, even without any
further action from FYROM, since it will be almost natural to associate it with the only country
which contains the Macedonian name in the state denomination.
But it would be wrong to
assume that the argument exhausted itself there; what appeared to be at issue was not only national
pride but also long-term Greek national security. This may sound exaggerated in view of the
“The politicisation of Slavo-Macedonian language, legends, folklore, songs, dances and rituals has rendered this
culture so sensitive a political issue that it can no longer be permitted to exist” Karakasidou (Politicising Culture), p.
28; also Karakasidou (National Ιdeologies).
A history of the Slav-Macedonian minority in Greece after World War I can be found in Bucar, pp. 203-240; for a
recent rendition and an anthropological case-study see the book by .Karakasidou (Fields of Wheat, Ηills of
The estimates found in the bibliography range from 2,300 in Munuera, at p. 47, fn. 112; 20,000 to 50,000 in
Perry, (La Macédoine et ses voisins), at p. 190; “20,000 and 50,000 Macedonian speakers […] of which
10,000 have a Macedonian national identity” in Danforth, (The Macedonian Conflict) at p. 78; 45,000
"at most" in Libal, at p. 137; more than 50,000 in Bucar, at p. 239; 100,000 in Pribichevich at p. 237.
See e.g. "Macedonian Minorities: The Slav Macedonians of Northern Greece and the Treatment of Minorities in
the Republic of Macedonia", Oxford: The British Helsinki Human Rights Group, 1994. Cf. Kozyris (The
Macedonians of Greece).
Included in the Memorandum regarding the admission of the Republic of Macedonia in the U.N. and the Greek
Memorandum trying to prevent it, 3.II.1993, in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 138.
Found in 1977 on the lid of a gold larnax attributed to Philip II, father of Alexander the Great; with details
Andronikos, (Art during the Archaic and Classical Periods) p. 100 et. seq.; Andronikos, (Vergina, the Royal
Tombs and the Ancient City).
See inter alia Coughlin C., "Red Flag is Red Rag to Greeks", The Sunday Telegraph, 27.II.1994
Cf. Derala.
Thus, Greek arguments in Memorandum of Greece concerning the Application of the FYROM for Admission to
the U.N., point 10; "Macedonia: More than a Difference over a Name", Secretariat General for Press and
Information, Athens, 1994.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
weakness of the new state, but the Greeks could not easily forget that Balkan politics are
notoriously volatile and susceptible to defy predictions. As Athens saw it, regional powers like
Turkey or Bulgaria may seek to take advantage of this feebleness, with a view to achieving an
'encirclement' that could prove detrimental for Greece. This could be accompanied by renewed
territorial claims on Greek territory, founded on historical and geographical claims to a 'Greater
Macedonia', since by that time in the future this legacy might be regarded as belonging, partly at
least, to FYROM.
Foreigners, failing to appreciate the possibility of such a turn of events, tended
to misinterpret Greek security anxieties
in relation to the name as originating from fear of future
secessionist movements of the Slav minority in the north of the country.
It is imperative to note Skopje's arguments justifying their use of the name: They have been
centred around the view that FYROM is the only state situated integrally in Macedonia, therefore it
is well justified to use this name as far as geographical considerations go. In parallel, FYROM
emphasises that it does not claim for itself a monopoly on the name nor is it concerned with the
Greek province named Macedonia.
Their sole objective remains to stop Athens operating a
monopoly over Macedonia and to allow FYROM to exercise its right of self-determination in the
choice of its name. To this effect, FYROM stressed the following points: that the Greek Consulate
in Skopje addressed the authorities using the name Socialist Republic of Macedonia as late as the
beginning of 1992;
that for the first time in history a segment of geographic Macedonia came
under Greek administration in 1913;
that FYROM was the first to use the name officially, after
1944, whilst Greece never used it in an official form until 1988, therefore the prior tempore potior jure
rule must be applied;
and that, most importantly, the change of the Republic's name is against the
will of the people and it "will unconditionally destabilise the country".
Nevertheless, whether
there was indeed substance in the claims of FYROM that their citizens feel members of a distinct
Macedonian nationality appeared to go unquestioned in Greece. To answer this appropriately,
neither the decades of persistent indoctrination should be left out of consideration nor Greece's
violent struggle since 1991 in contrast to her complacency for the 45 years before this. If it was a
common bond for the people that the government in Skopje wanted, they found it by claiming this
Klok, (De tweete...), p. 5; Giakoumis, at p. 456.
The rather absurd proposal that the minuscule FYROM may conceivably represent a territorial threat to Greece
has justifiably raised eyebrows with most non-Greek analysts; nevertheless, arguing in favour of the possibility that
this state may one day be used as a basis for claims against Greece, Kentrotis (Echoes from the Past), p. 99.
See Perry, (La Macédoine et ses voisins), at p. 190; Munuera, at p. 48.
Memorandum regarding the admission of the Republic of Macedonia in the U.N. and the Greek Memorandum
trying to prevent it, in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 138.
Ibid.; i.e. under administration of the post-independence modern Greek state.
Ibid.; this is an untrue statement as it applies to the renaming of the Greek Ministry for Northern Greece to
Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace in that year but disregards the use of the name to denote the administrative
area for many other purposes ever since 1913.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
name and rallying the whole population in a united resistance front under a common cause against
the pugnacious Greeks.
V. Recognitions, countermeasures, the European Court of Justice, the
1995 interim accord and the stalemate.
The first country to recognise FYROM, under the name 'Republic of Macedonia', was
Bulgaria in January 1992. Sofia preferred an independent state that should be easier to influence
than the previous Yugoslavian federative republic, which had engaged in strong anti-Bulgarian
At the same time however, true to its long-standing position, Sofia denied the existence
of a separate 'Macedonian' nation, choosing to consider FYROM's population as a close relative
Shortly afterwards Turkey recognised FYROM, again as 'Macedonia', and was the first
country to establish full diplomatic relations with Skopje. Given that FYROM could provide fertile
ground for Ankara's moves to extend its influence in the post-Yugoslavia Balkans and that Greece
was vehemently opposed to such a recognition, this move was hardly surprising.
Until its
admission in the United Nations in 1993, the only other countries to recognise the state had been
Russia, Slovenia and Croatia. Despite U.N. membership, the European Union and all major
Western countries refrained from establishing full diplomatic relations with Skopje but with 1993
coming to a close it was apparent that this was not going to last for long, as mass media in the West
were increasingly turning against the Greek positions.
The October 10 general elections brought
the Socialists to power, and -the generally considered as uncooperative- A. Papandreou back to
premiership. The new government was determined to initiate a tougher approach to the
Macedonian issue and had repeatedly confirmed these intentions during the electoral campaign.
In a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General, the new Foreign Minister K. Papoulias stated that Athens
was willing to proceed with the Vance-Owen mediation only as long as FYROM would quit its
deliberate procrastination tactics and acquiesce to some basic Greek demands.
This move
Further on nationalism as a nation-building force in FYROM, Troebst, (Makedonische Antworten auf die
'Makedonische Frage'); see also Pope H., "Macedonia seeks to evade hawk's claws", Sunday Independent,
On the Bulgarian-Yugoslavian conflict over Macedonia, see Troebst, (Die bulgarisch-jugoslawische Kontroverse
um Makedonien 1967-1982).
Comment entitled "Bulgarien: Die Anerkennung Makedoniens", Südosteuropa 41 (1992), p. 236; Nelson, p. 53.
Mazower; Derala, p. 8.
See Barber L. & Hope K., "EC-Greek row over Macedonia worsens", Financial Times, 14.I.1994; Palmer J.,
"EU States plan links with Macedonia", The Guardian, 30.XI.1994.
Papandreou had stressed that he would never recognise FYROM as 'Macedonia' or with a name containing this
term in several televised interviews, e.g. 28 September and 5 November 1993.
This letter is dated 4 November 1994; cf. Reply of the U.N. Secretary-General to the Foreign Minister K.
Papoulias, 8.XI.1994 in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 172.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
prompted six EU Member States (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, United
Kingdom) to accord full diplomatic recognition to Skopje, only a few days before the semester of
the Greek Presidency of the Community was about to begin.
Greece protested against this action
on the grounds that it constituted a breach in the unity of the Common Foreign and Security Policy
of the Union, and that it opened the floodgates for a wave of recognitions which would
automatically resolve the issue in FYROM's favour and allow it to be even more inflexible at the
bilateral negotiations. When the United States followed suit in February 1994,
Greece replied by
severing diplomatic ties with Skopje and imposing a blockade on FYROM goods moving to and
from the port of Thessaloniki with the exception of humanitarian aid on 16 February.
unprecedented condemnation followed in the whole of Europe, as the international community
reacted with indignation to what was seen as Greek hysteria. Serious opinion-makers questioned
openly the suitability of Athens running the European Union affairs for the first semester of 1994
and even suggested the removal of Greece from the Union altogether.
In a flurry of tense
diplomatic activity, the Greek government tried to explain its position amidst growing allegations
that the countermeasures constituted flagrant breach of the country's obligations under
international law
and under European Community law, as a Member of the E.U.
The matter
was discussed by the Council at Ioannina, where the Greek government again came under attack for
the measures, but no final decision was reached. On 22 April the Commission brought an action
under Art. 225.2 of the EC Treaty, alleging that the Hellenic Republic had made improper use of
Art. 224 of the Treaty in order to justify the unilateral measures adopted on 16 February. Art. 225
provides for an accelerated procedure for the Commission to bring a Member State directly before
the European Court of Justice for making improper use of the powers it has under Art. 224 to take
emergency measures in the event of serious internal disturbances, war, threat of war, or for
maintaining peace and international security.
The matter caused serious consternation in Greece,
with wild speculation about 'extensive antihellenic conspiracies' becoming rife.
On 16 December 1993; see Perry, (Crisis in the Making? Macedonia and its neighbors), p. 31; Algieri, p. 3.
White House Announcement regarding the Recognition of FYROM in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 176; see also
the Reply of President Gligorov to president Clinton, ibid., p. 178.
Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers to cease the Movement of Goods to and from Skopje, 16.II.1994, ibid., p.
180; further expounded in (internal) Circular of the Ministry of Economics to the Greek Customs regarding
the Movement of Goods to and from Skopje, 18.II.1994, p. 183.
For the press reaction to the Greek countermeasures, see inter alia Tett G., "Blockade by Greece puts EU on the
spot", Financial Times, 18.II.1994; "Time for Greece to rethink", The European, 25.II.1994; Mortiner E.,
"Southern Discomfort", Financial Times, 3.III.1994; Theodoracopulos T., "Greece defies its own Great
Legacy", The Wall Street Journal, 21.IV.1994.
On the validity of the claims that Greece contravened International Law by denying to landlocked FYROM
access to the port of Thessaloniki, the essay by Syrigos.
Outlining, 'Written Observations of the Hellenic Republic regarding the Application for Interim Measures, case
C-120/94 R, Commission v. Hellenic Republic', pp. 18-19 [uncirculated]; see also Argumentation regarding
the adoption of measures by the Hellenic Republic against the Republic of Skopje, 21.II.1994 in: Valinakis
& Ntalis (eds.), p. 185; Letter of J. Delors to A. Papandreou, 22.II.1994, ibid., p. 192; Memorandum of the
Greek Government to the European Commission, 26.II.1994, ibid., p. 194; Letter of J. Delors to A.
Papandreou, 21.III.1994, ibid., p. 213.
Article 224 EC
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
At the same time, the Commission filed an application for interim measures under Art. 186
EC, requiring Greece to suspend the trade blockade pending judgement on the main action. Greek
efforts were mobilised and on 24 May 1994 the government submitted a 65-page document (along
with a massive annex) containing its written observations on the interim relief application. The
document consisted of two parts, one outlining the historical background and the other refuting the
Commission's legal claims.
The European Court considered the legal arguments and came up
with a carefully worded decision rejecting the Commission's application for interim measures on the
basis of insufficient proof on what regards the harm caused to Community competition. The Court
also underlined the fact that a number of considerations innate to the matter were of political and
not legal nature.
The 29 June 1994 decision was welcomed with approval as "Greece's full
Even if this was not necessarily the case, the dispute was obviously coming to a close, one
way or the other. The deteriorating situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina further north, meant that the
Greece-FYROM dispute was rapidly becoming demoted to less than a side-show. After several
months of relatively low-level activities -with both sides remaining entrenched in their former
positions- the breakthrough was precipitated by the Advocate-General's opinion on the legality of
the Greek countermeasures, issued in April 1995
. In fact, the Advocate-General was suggesting
to the European Court that, under the circumstances of the case in question, a ruling could not be
made by the Court on the essence of the dispute. Although this was far from vindicating the
Greeks for the imposition of trade sanctions, it was certainly one of the arguments heavily relied
Member States shall consult each other with a view to taking together the steps needed to prevent the
functioning of the common market being affected by measures which a Member State may be called upon to
take in the event of serious internal disturbances affecting the maintenance of law and order, in the event of
war, serious international tension constituting a threat of war, or in order to carry out obligations it has
accepted for the purpose of maintaining peace and international security.
Article 225 EC
If measures taken in the circumstances referred to in Articles 223 and 224 have the effect of distorting the
conditions of competition in the common market, the Commission shall, together with the State concerned,
examine how these measures can be adjusted to the rules laid down in this Treaty.
By way of derogation from the procedure laid down in Articles 169 and 170, the Commission or any
Member State may bring the matter directly before the Court of Justice if it considers that another Member
State is making improper use of the powers provided for in Articles 223 and 224. The Court of Justice shall
give its ruling in camera.
Cf. "Etsi mas parapempoun se diki oi etairoi mas [Thus bring us to Court our Associates], to Pontiki, 11.V.1994;
Mardas D., "Skopia-embargo: to kostos tis diethnous ypokrisias" [Skopje-embargo: the cost of international
hypocrisy], Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia, 24.VII.1994.
'Written Observations of the Hellenic Republic regarding the Application for Interim Measures', a document
provided by the Legal Office of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Athens.
Order of the Court in case C-120/94 R, Commission v. Hellenic Republic, 29.VI.1994.
A. Papandreou, quoted in "European Court rejects Commission appeal, 'Greece vindicated", Bulletin (Athens
News), 30.VI.1994; see also Wolf J., "EC Court declines to move against Greece's Embargo", The Wall
Street Journal, 30.VI.1994; Statement by the Government Spokesman E. Venizelos in Brussels, 29.VI.1994,
supplied by Press Office of the Greek Embassy in London; Statement of T. Pangalos in New York,
29.VI.1994, supplied by Press Office of the Greek Embassy in London.
See Greece Information- News from Greece, No. 10, 13.IV. 1995, Greek Embassy London, Press and
Information Office.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
upon by the Greek side. In Skopje, a Foreign Ministry statement described the opinion as "an
attempt to exert political pressure" and expressed the hope that the ECJ would still go on and adopt
the "correct" ruling
. At the same time however , it was becoming increasingly clear in FYROM
that the embargo was not going to be declared unlawful by the European Community and thus the
only way to avert further damage to the already reeling economy led to the negotiating table. A
summer of intense bilateral diplomatic activity followed, culminating in an agreement aimed at
normalising relations, signed on 13 September 1995 by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.
The essence of the interim accord was the lifting of the trade sanctions against Skopje in exchange
for the FYROM's undertaking to change its national flag, refrain from using symbols "linked to
Greece's cultural and historical heritage" and amend the 'offending' articles of its Constitution.
response to the interim accord, the European Commission decided to drop the legal action against
Greece, before the final decision of the Court was due.
Nevertheless, the accord did not clarify
the most important of the disputed issues, the name of the new country, stating instead "that the
Parties will continue negotiation under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
with respect to the outstanding difference between them"
. The dispute was far from over.
Lengthy rounds of negotiations have followed the interim accord in order to reach an
agreement on the issue of the name. Both sides indicated
that they would be looking towards a
single name for FYROM, instead of a double one, to be used in all occasions both internally and
. In 1998 elections, the former communists in Skopje lost power to a right-wing
alliance which included a bloc of Albanian parties. Kiro Gligorov was replaced in presidential
elections the following year by nationalist VMRO candidate Boris Trajkovski. During the Kosovo
crisis of 1999 FYROM’s economic woes were worsened by UN sanctions against its main trading
partner, Serbia, and a massive influx of Albanian refugees whilst NATO launched its Kosovo
peacekeeping operation from FYROM. The country's large Albanian minority remains a source of
severe ethnic tension which erupted violently in 2001, prompting the insertion of a separate NATO
peace-keeping force.
As quoted ibid.
Greece Information- News from Greece, No. 20, 20.IX. 1995, Greek Embassy London, Press and Information
Office. Enlightening is also the report on the debate on the Greek Parliament regarding the interim accord, ibid.,
No. 24, 10.XI. 1995.
For an analysis of the action brought against Greece from a European Community law point of view, see
Stefanou & Xanthaki.
Ibid. On 27 September 1995 FYROM was admitted as a member of the Council of Europe.
. Moreover, in January 1996, both countries opened liaison offices in their capitals. Greece Information- News
from Greece, No. 29, 23.I. 1996, Greek Embassy London, Press and Information Office.
In December 1999, C. Vance was succeeded by M. Nimets as UN envoy in charge of the bilateral negotiations.
The name issue has continued to surface in additional contexts; for example, in October 1997, the Polish
president, A. Kwasniewski, refused to sign the text of a joint declaration with his counterpart K. Gligorov containing
the name "Republic of Macedonia", insisting on the internationally recognised designation FYROM.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
VI. An analysis of the factors which affected Greek Foreign Policy
decisions during the dispute
The factors that contributed to the escalation and exacerbation of the dispute between
Greece and FYROM could make a matter for disagreement on themselves. The strategic planning
of the Greek Foreign Policy during the 1989-1995 dispute was influenced by a variety of different
considerations, some of them historical, some practical, some purely academic and even some
attributable to chance. Nevertheless, in an attempt to evaluate critically the information outlined
previously, a number of observations (16 as in the beams of the Vergina Star!) can be made:
1) "There is NO Macedonian issue": if one is looking for the single most important reason
that influenced Greek foreign policy during the dispute with FYROM, this should be it. This
standard, unchanging Greek position for 45 years, immersed the whole issue in silence and allowed
Tito's Yugoslavia to proceed unperturbed. Constant statements from official sources to the effect
that for Greece there is no such thing as a Macedonian Problem, created a profound ignorance of
the Greek points of view in the public opinion internationally (since there did not seem to exist any
point of view). Similarly, the treatment of federative Skopje as a kind of diplomatic juvenile
delinquent, against whom no suppressive measures should be attempted but mild protests to
'parent' Belgrade made instead, demonstrates how mistaken Greek diplomacy was in assessing and
handling the situation. And it was with belated ardour that Greece started to address the issue
abroad and initiate home-spun 'Macedonisation' schemes.
2) As a consequence of Greek apathy, the game of outside impressions had already been won
by FYROM even before the diplomatic struggle for recognition began in 1991. Decades of
Macedonian conferences and volumes of special Macedonian monographs in Institutions,
Universities and libraries all over the planet had remained undisputed. Thus, by 1991-1992 when
the whole world was hearing that 'Macedonia' wanted to gain independence but Greece was
vehemently denying it recognition because of objections to its name, it was never a question of
whether this new state should be called like this but only on why the Greeks do not allow it to be
called like this.
3) The inflexible position of Greece over the issue is also a factor that needs further
evaluation. On one hand, the intensity of the public reaction demonstrated that, right or wrong, the
population held adamant views on the subject.
On the other hand, the widely-publicised
antagonism between FYROM and a country so much superior economically, politically and
militarily, produced instinctive reactions and allegations that Greece was intimidating her neighbour.
E.g. the renaming of the Ministry for Northern Greece in 1988, the addition in the name of the Aristotelian
University of Thessaloniki, minting of coins with the Vergina Sun, the creation of the Macedonian Press
Agency in Thessaloniki in 1991, the establishing of the Vergina Star as a Greek national symbol in 1993.
"Were the two million people who demonstrated in Thessaloniki last month really all hysterical? Or might it not
be that, in light of historical experience, they were articulating fears we do not yet fully appreciate?",
Pflueger F., "A face-saving solution exists", The Wall Street Journal, 21.IV.1994.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
A point of further debate ought to be whether Athens should have accepted a compromise
derivative name once it had become evident that its support in Europe was ebbing. As it happens,
both major political parties in Greece were entangled in the imbroglio caused by the fierce public
reaction and in order to affirm their national credentials, they had to adopt volens-nolens the
position that the term 'Macedonia' would not be acceptable in any form in FYROM's name,
conceding to the views aired publicly by the Greek socialist MP S. Papathemelis during a 1991-1992
tour of awareness-raising speeches.
Certainly, as the dispute progressed, the intransigence of both
sides did not permit many face-saving options.
4) Greek foreign policy proved catastrophically unready to stand up to the new challenges
that the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the redistribution of regional power demanded. The
pre-1990 constant refutation of any Macedonian problem and the content of the relations with
Yugoslavia and S.R.M. indicated that Greece did not consider even remotely that the possibility of a
challenge in the status quo in Macedonia would ever arise. Conceding that the end of the cold war
was certainly not something easily forecast in the eighties, Greece's preoccupation with Turkey did
not allow for even basic preparations to ensure a coherent Balkan policy in the event of a break-up
of Yugoslavia, and disregarded the warning signs that such an eventuality was probable. One
should not forget the use of the term (S.R.) Macedonia by the Greek Consulate to address the
Skopje government as late as 1991.
5) Cultural haughtiness and arrogance on behalf of the Greeks contributed to the
unfamiliarity with their positions both at home and abroad.
For a long time there was little else
for a reaction than a disdainful attitude against both FYROM, for attempting to usurp the Hellenic
heritage of Macedon, and against some 'hapless barbarians' around the world who could be ignorant
enough to give credence to “FYROM’s fabrications”. And this was coupled with the loftiness of
the Greeks being certain of having right in what they claimed, a fact that -in their eyes- made any
need to actually attempt to prove the legitimacy of these assertions redundant.
Even after Athens
had embarked in the diplomatic struggle to hinder recognition, there were hardly any attempts made
to use the media in the West to attain a favourable influence, although in the home front the
newspapers were overflowing with pointless philippics against FYROM.
6) The dispute over Macedonia should not be examined separately from the Yugoslavian
conflict and the countless side-issues and problems that this caused. Greece's wishes and interests
It appears that a position firmly advanced by diplomatic circles of the Greek Foreign Ministry was to accept the
name "$ovamakedonija".
Munuera, passim.
"The responsible politicians and intellectuals, who had the possibility to know what is happening across the
border, faced the situation phlegmatically and I would say with a certain modicum of arrogance. For the
intellectuals, all these are but gross concoctions, unable to influence the most naive of humans. Why must
they occupy themselves with a worthless fabrication?" Martis, at p. 114.
See Millar P., Laying claim to the Legacy of Alexander, The European, 7-13.IX.1995.
Even the more serious articles were often not directed towards the public outside of Greece by virtue of where
they were published, e.g. Sfetas & Kentrotis, (Skopje: In search of an identity and international recognition).
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
in most aspects of the Yugoslavian crisis ran contrary to the interests of almost all other Western
powers. To start with, Athens was in favour of the preservation of Yugoslavia (even advocating
this as late as 1993), which brought her immediately at odds with Germany, Italy and Austria, who
for historical reasons and in order to increase their regional influence, sought to dismember
Yugoslavia. This of course gave to the individual federative republics the chance to proclaim their
sovereignty and pursue their own policies. Furthermore, Greece's support for Serbia, her only
historical ally in the region, did not exactly enhance its international reputation, given Serbia's status
at the time as an international bully and a pariah state.
7) The Yugoslavian crisis was a major dent in the prestige of the embryonic Common Foreign
and Security Policy of the European Union. The federalists' aspiration to create a new axis of
security in the shape of the E.U. was shattered as Europe tried ineffectually to avert the severest
conflict on European soil since W.W. II (a conflict in whose creation it had played a major role in
the first place). Greece's hostility against the poorest of the former Yugoslav Republics was
correctly perceived as a potential threat to its existence and a potential cause for further expansion
of the war southwards. Irrespective of how good or convincing Athens' arguments were going to
be, Europe was not going to allow Greece to exert pressure and strangulate FYROM, as this could
mean facing a new embarrassing failure to safeguard peace in the region.
The Macedonian
problem was seen as a pointless aggravation of an already inflamed situation and respect for Greek
sensitivities could not last for long. FYROM also knew this as well and did a good job of
reminding it to anyone listening. Hence, the Union ultimately broke its solidarity in supporting
8) Along similar lines can the U.S. involvement and reaction be explained. After the failure to
hinder the outbreak of hostilities in Bosnia, America saw FYROM as a way of giving "politicians
and the voters a feeling of painlessly contributing to the Yugoslav crisis".
Not wanting to be
accused of interfering in internal European Union matters, the U.S. waited until the break in the
Union's ranks became manifest in order to recognise FYROM. In addition, as the Balkans started
to be divided into spheres of influence, the U.S. sought to secure one of these new countries under
its wing, i.e. FYROM. This obviously paid handsome dividends later during the 1999 crisis, when
FYROM was used as a staging ground for NATO troops moving into Kosovo.
9) Further to pursuing their own very real interests, a number of European countries showed
a rather superficial appreciation of the real essence of the dispute between Greece and FYROM,
dismissing it often in a high-handed manner as childish hysteria
or impenetrable Balkan
In this way, Greece was torn between a need to apply occidental foreign policy
Cf. Munuera, p. 58 et seq.
Perry, (Crisis in the making?), at p. 57.
See the 1997 book by Shea (Macedonia and Greece).
“When Vance and I visited Athens in September we had found Prime Minister Mitsotakis wrestling with a major
political problem which some other EC governments dismissed too lightly” Lord Owen (Balkan Odyssey), p. 75.
Rivolta D., "Attenti all' iredentismo macedone", Il Giornale, 31.V.1994; Mazower, passim.; Kofos E.,
'Introduction' in: Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 15.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
standards so as to display that she is a worthy member of the Western world, and the insufficiency
of these policy measures to bring forth the desired results within the highly complex Balkan
diplomatic theatre.
10) As a consequence, Athens' foreign policy was often oscillating between cultural and
pragmatic arguments. After the realisation that a debate over heritage rights, the ethnicity of the
ancient Macedonians, the concepts of cultural patrimony of mankind etc. would not be adequate to
persuade the world opinion, an attempt was made to formulate a realpolitik by justifying Greek views
by means of more 'rational' and interest-oriented arguments.
These however were not necessarily
more successful as they presupposed that the listening parties possessed special knowledge of the
Balkan area, its history and its specific idiosyncrasy.
11) The 1992 decision of the Council in Lisbon not to recognise FYROM with a name
containing the term 'Macedonia' was certainly a high point in E.U. solidarity, but it should also be
born in mind that the Europeans were responding in this fashion to the Greek conservative
government's warnings that, in the opposite case, the return to power of 'trouble-making' A.
Papandreou would be very likely.
12) A range of different factors caused the balance to finally turn in favour of FYROM during
the crucial second semester of 1992. Athens rested on the laurels of the Lisbon declaration and
dramatically slackened diplomatic activity during the summer, whilst the FYROM government was
steadily increasing its influence. Skopje augmented its strategic status because of the need to
enforce the U.N. embargo against Serbia and also attracted the support of islamist and philocroat
circles. The change of Council Presidency was also very positive for the Skopje side, as the British
started to systematically undermine the Lisbon declaration with a view to amending it. The summer
of 1992 might have been an opportunity for Athens to achieve a favourable outcome at a time
when FYROM's situation had come to an all-time low.
13) FYROM gained international sympathies by projecting an underdog image, oppressed by
its irritable neighbour. Notwithstanding the extent to which this reflected a true situation, Greek
Foreign Policy felt obliged to take into consideration the public opinion’s disapproval of "the
evident tolerance and acceptance displayed by the international community toward the image of the
'poor underdog' that President Kiro Gligorov [adeptly and possibly rightfully] applied to himself
and his state. [...] The President of FYROM [is seen] as a Balkan 'Jean Valjean' who was caught
stealing a small loaf of bread -the Sun of Vergina- in order to feed his family: that is to give his
'oppressed' and 'misunderstood' people a sense of pride. [...] His aim was to cast Greece in the role
of the inhuman 'Javert'."
14) The Greek positions suffered from feeble attempts to gain influence in Western mass
media and thus adopt a positive media image. On the other hand, it appears that from 1992 there
See Marinos, p. 3; Cf. Clogg R., in the London Review of Books, 18.VIII.1994.
Kofos (The vision of Greater Macedonia), at p. 7.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
was a concerted effort in certain European countries to consolidate FYROM's position through
official instructions to newspapers and television channels to adopt an 'antihellenic' stance. In the
meantime, oceans of ink were aimlessly flowing in both FYROM and Greece preaching to the
Finally, even foreigners agree that the Greek lobbying in Europe was not sufficiently
15) Geopolitical, strategic and sentimental reasons aside, FYROM also became a valid cause
on humanitarian grounds. Possibly even because it was far less dangerous to intervene in FYROM
than further north where they were really needed, several individuals and NGOs stressed the need
for immediate action in Skopje's favour, in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. For the same
reasons, the Greek countermeasures of February 1994 were seen in a very dim light by the
international community. Macedonia had become "a black stain in the conscience of Europe" as
the Danish Foreign minister U. Jenssen said.
16) In conclusion it should be noted that apart from the national and international foreign
policies described above, a number of private or semi-official interests also became entangled in the
issue of FYROM's recognition, e.g. Islamic unity organisations and the Soros Foundation, which
tended mostly to support Skopje (and Tirana) both materially and by means of lobbying.
VII. Conclusion
The traditional “Macedonian Question” underwent drastic changes in the 1990s as a result of
the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the emergence of an independent state under the provisional
international name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This analysis has demonstrated
that the dispute between Greece and FYROM concealed no hidden agenda, but it really did revolve
around the issue of the name that the new state was going to adopt. Whether this country would be
named Macedonia or not was not a side-question but -for the Greek side at least- the crux of the
argument. On a dialectic level, one is led to the conclusion that the diplomatic struggle over which
entity has the right to use for itself the name Macedonia is an illustrative undercurrent of a dispute
between the proponents of two nationalist ideologies over the possession of national identity
history and culture, all of which -from a nationalist perspective- are considered to be the property
of the nation.
It is a dispute over the ownership of cultural property in which each of two
countries has attempted to place a trademark on what it considers to be its name, its national
emblems and its famous ancestors. Since a state’s culture is as much its possession as its territory,
See Marinos, at p. 7.
"Ció che si puo rimproverare ai greci é di non aver saputo fare la giusta lobby a Bruxelles e Strasburgo", Rivolta
D., "La Macedonia si salve senza pregiudizi", Il Giornale, 25.VI.1994.
Quoted in Valinakis & Ntalis (eds.), p. 142.
Danforth, (The Macedonian conflict), passim.
Danforth, (Claims to Macedonian Identity), p. 10.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
the appropriation of this culture by another country has thus been construed as a threat to national
integrity. The fundamental to agree on the very status of the contested name of the land and its
people seems to be a product of the use of entirely different criteria in defining basic terms: for
Greece, the word ‘Macedonia’ and all that it symbolises in racial and cultural continuity is the critical
issue; the goal of FYROM is recognition of its ethnospecificity.
After being marginalised in the strategic chessboard of the ‘New World Order’ because of the
collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the end of the cold war, Greece managed to become seriously isolated
internationally in the struggle against FYROM and alienate herself from her most important allies.
For a period of several years after 1992, Athens was seen as a 'second bully of the Balkans', an
accomplice almost of Serbia and unworthy of European and international support or even, in the
extreme cases, membership. In retrospect, Greece missed a chance that the power vacuum in the
Balkans provided to emerge as a leading regional power and present a pole of development in the
south of Europe. It could also be argued that, to a certain extent, Greek reaction against FYROM
undermined the potentially privileged position that she would have in influencing the young state
allowing Turkey to deploy itself with less hindrances in the geostrategic chessboard of the Balkan
peninsula and substitute Greece as the regional power.
At the same time, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, although initially successful
in preventing a spill-over of the armed conflict in ex-Yugoslavia towards its own territory, was
obliged to go through the first four years after its independence entangled in a bitter dispute, one
that seemed capable to threaten its very existence. It was with great diplomatic skill and courage
that the complete collapse of the small state was prevented. By the end of 1994 it was becoming
apparent to both sides that the continuing dispute had run out of steam and was resulting only in
further embarrassment and losses,
and the interim accord of September 1995 did not come as a
surprise to many. Moreover, the issue was (deliberately?) allowed by both sides to remain
unresolved during the interminable UN negotiations, thereby strengthening the status quo in favour
of a generalised usage of the name ‘Republic of Macedonia’.
"A Macedonian is defined as 'a person by inheritance who speaks a Slavonic language coming from that area of
Europe known as Macedonia whether such is part of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, or Albania'", ibid., p. 44.
Someritis, p. 8; in addition, with arguments that the Greek policy between 1991-1995 failed to produce the
desired outcome or to resolve the issue and precipitated a costly rift between Greece and her allies, the
article by Zahariadis.
Munuera, at p. 49.
Perry, (Crisis in the making?), at p. 54.
See Marakis N., "Strofi tis Athinas sto Makedoniko"[Athens shifts its position over Macedonia], To Vima,
4.IX.1994; "Syzitame kai Onoma me ta Skopia"[We are also discussing the name issue with Skopje],
Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia, 11.IX.1994; Diamantis T., "Gligorov: To Onoma ehei kleisei"[Gligorov: the
issue of the name has been settled] Eleftherotypia, 12.X.1994.
Konstantakopoulos D., “A last chance to resolve the issue of the name of the FYROM”, Ependytis, 25.XIII.2001;
Iordanidis K., “Greece and FYROM: Challenges and Opportunities”, Kathimerini (English Edition),
14.V.2001; Ligeros S., “Greece to pay”, Kathimerini, 7.IX.2001; Marakis N., “The New Opportunity for the
Name”, To Vima, 6.V.2001; Couloumbis T. & Tziampiris A., “Unheralded, a new Foreign Policy emerges
for the Balkans”, Kathimerini (English Edition), 9.VII.2001; Kartalis J., “The Price of the Impasse”, To
Vima, 26.XIII.2001.
Demetrius Andreas Floudas: "FYROM’S Dispute with Greece Revisited”
Finally, the inherent instability of FYROM -name or no name- due to its volatile ethnic mix,
was greatly exacerbated (as it was for the whole of the Balkan region) by the 1999 NATO
intervention in Kosovo, and further came into stark contrast by the low-level civil conflict fought in
FYROM in 2001. The future of FYROM as an independent state in its current form, name and
borders does not appear universally guaranteed and will presumably be influenced by the final
outcome of the situation in the currently ‘limbo’-suspended issue of the Kosovo province and the
likely reactions of the Albanians. Although a steadfast focus of Greek foreign policy throughout
the last decade has been the at all costs preservation of the territorial integrity of its northern
neighbour, it is conceivable that the time may have come for Athens to sacrifice this holy cow of
Hellenic diplomacy and reconsider whether such a heretical approach might be in the long run
advantageous to the Greek positions.
... Due to the name dispute, Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations under the temporary reference to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM). Th is term has been for use only in the United Nations, and does not imply that the Republic of Macedonia has any ties to the former Yugoslavia (Floudas, 2002). By December 2011, 133 countries had come to recognize Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia, representing over 66% of the total number of UN member states. ...
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Alors que de plus en plus de gouvernements infranationaux prennent part à des échanges économiques et culturels avec leurs homologues afin de soutenir le développement de leur territoire, la situation septentrionale de Hokkaidō et son climat froid ne sont plus reconnus comme des freins au développement, mais comme des caractéristiques ouvrant de nouvelles possibilités commerciales. Depuis la fin des années 1960 les autorités infranationales de la préfecture japonaise soutiennent le concept de région nordique pour soutenir le développement écono-mique de l’île grâce à des échanges avec d’autres régions et villes du Nord. A travers des échanges avec les territoires orientaux russes ou les régions nordiques dans le Northern Forum, Hokkaido souhaite pro-mouvoir son expertise en climat froid et neigeux mais également obtenir des conseils et nouvelles techniques pour améliorer le cadre de vie de ses citoyens. As more sub-national govern­ments engage in economic and cultural exchanges with their counterparts to support the development of their territory, the northern situation of Hokkaido and its cold climate are no longer recognized as barriers to development, but as character­istics opening up new business opportu­nities. Since the late 1960s, the sub-national authorities of the Japanese prefecture have been supporting the concept of the Northern region to enhance the economic development of the island through ex­changes with other northern regions and cities. Through exchanges with Eastern Russian territories or northern regions in the Northern Forum, Hokkaido wishes to promote its expertise in cold and snowy climate but also to obtain advice and new techniques to improve the living environ­ment of its citizens.
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Les guerres qui ont marqué l’éclatement de l’ex Yougoslavie, à partir de 1991 jusqu’en 1999, se sont éteintes avec le principe de l’intangibilité des frontières des républiques fédérées et autonomes comme pierre angulaire de la construction de la paix. C’est pourquoi la partition de la Bosnie-Herzégovine n’a pas été acceptée par les Occidentaux lors des accords de Dayton de 1995 qui ont mis un terme aux guerres de Croatie et de Bosnie-Herzégovine. Impensable depuis la fin de la guerre du Kosovo en 1999, puis son indépendance en 2008, un changement de frontières est de nouveau évoqué dans les Balkans. La proposition a été émise au coeur de l’été 2018 par le président du Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, et son homologue serbe Aleksandar Vučić: un échange de territoires pourrait permettre de clore vingt ans de conflits gelés et d’établir des relations entre Serbie et Kosovo. La proposition, même si elle n’a pas été formulée aussi clairement, consistait à échanger les municipalités du Kosovo au nord de Mitrovica, adossées à la Serbie et peuplées principalement de Serbes, contre la région de Preševo dans le sud-est de la Serbie, habitée en majorité par des Albanais. Les présidents serbe et kosovar ont évoqué la possibilité d’échanger des territoires dans le cadre de pourparlers en vue d’une normalisation de leurs relations, condition obligatoire pour débuter les négociations d’adhésion à l’Union européenne (Hopkins, 2018; Guitton, 2018). Un temps soutenu par la France et la Haute représentante de l’Union européenne pour les Affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Federica Mogherini, le projet a rapidement été abandonné tant par le Kosovo que par la Serbie, et vigoureusement dénoncé par l’Allemagne et le Royaume-Uni. Que prévoyait cette ébauche de projet ? Sur quoi a-t-il achoppé ? Aurait-il permis d’établir les bases d’une relation apaisée entre la Serbie et le Kosovo, ou au contraire aurait-il constitué un dangereux précédent pour la stabilité des Balkans ? Cet article se propose de jeter un éclairage sur cet éphémère projet d’échange de territoires et sur les enjeux politiques qu’il posait.
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This paper analyzes the main characteristics of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) accession and its focus on integration of B&H to the European Union (EU). The main aim is to show major elements of B & H integration into EU as a potential candidate state. The paper consists of brief relationship between B&H and the EU, short several explanatory EU documents and analyses studies in this regard as well as reviews of B&H’s capacity to meet EU standards in line with the Interim Agreement/Stabilization and Association Agreement and the European Partnership. Even though peace, security, and stability are being seen as necessary prerequisite to stable B&H, primary issues are economical and political development as interconnected dependable variables. This paper will provide current insight about contemporary issues of B&H on its way to EU, highlight several key features that B&H must do alone in order to have possibility to apply for a membership. Recently EU and B&H have strengthened their relations in many areas whereas democratic process is being seen as crucial to prevent any future conflicts in the region. Finally, the paper makes a few recommendations and needed reforms for the faster integration of B&H to EU as B&H accession has no alternative. Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, EU, Dayton Peace Agreement, stabilization and association agreement, acquis communautaire
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L'opposition entre les Grecs et la minorite ethnique macedonienne (question qui domine les Balkans depuis cent ans) est un conflit entre deux ideologies sur la constitution des identites, histoires et cultures nationales. Les Grecs refusent l'appellation de « macedonien » aux Slaves (car ils la revendiquent pour eux-meme), ainsi que toute independance et reconnaissance de la Republique sous cette appellation.
Nation-building directly affects ethnic identity as it transforms the peoples of a region into the people of a nation-state. Since the incorporation of Macedonia into the expanding Greek state in 1913, Greek authorities have attempted to wrest control of enculturation away from the private domain of the family and to place it under the control of state institutions. In the process, Slavic speakers of the area have found themselves forbidden to use their Slavic language or to engage in songs, dances, and other public cultural activities. Some have resisted, protesting that such restrictions destroy their distinct local culture. This paper investigates such charges, examining Slavo-Macedonian claims to a distinct ethnic heritage and minority status, as well as reactions and counter-claims by Greek authorities to such assertions. I argue that the politicization of culture in Greek Macedonia has directly contributed to the denial of ethnic identity among Slavic speaking inhabitants there.
Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14.2 (1996) 358-361 The Macedonians of Greece: Denying Ethnic Identity. Helsinki: Human Rights Watch. 1994. Pp. 85. Keeping watch on governments and calling them to account for human rights is a top priority in the international arena, and the mission of Helsinki Watch, past and future, in ferreting out violations should be commended and supported. Focusing on the treatment of "Macedonians" in Greece is an appropriate subject for investigation, but it does require special care, a historical perspective, and sensitivity to the national security concerns that, regrettably, are largely missing from this report. To be sure, Greece over time, concerned about the loyalty of some of its citizens who spoke a Slavic dialect or language that resembled Bulgarian, discouraged activities that may have been connected to the various movements and ideologies that aimed to detach Greek Macedonia from Greece and to annex it either to Bulgaria or to a Greater Slavic Macedonia. Elementary familiarity with the history of the region, and with the bloody wars that were fought there until very recently, would suggest that these fears of Greece about "activity contrary to . . . its territorial integrity and political independence" (Article 8 of the Declaration) were anything but imaginary. The job of Helsinki Watch was to check the facts, identify any related Greek measures in reliable ways, place them in context, and evaluate their compatibility with any legitimate security concerns. This job was done poorly regarding the facts and almost not at all regarding context and compatibility. To begin with, the report most often uses FYROM's terminology--"Aegean Macedonia"--for Greek Macedonia. It also refers to the repression of "the Macedonians in Greece" without qualification, which not only generates confusion but also gives the impression that members of this small minority constitute the only or true Macedonians in the region. With all due concern for the excesses of Greek nationalism, to attribute the name and the identity of Macedonia to a certain group within a certain minority in this geographical area is not only naïve but shows gross partiality. In a vacuum, any one or any group may adopt any name they want. When, however, at least two groups claim the same name in the same location, and there has been a lot of history and bad blood regarding that location, Human Rights Watch should be careful about how it uses the name. Besides, there are also the (different?) Macedonians of FYROM. For example, I myself was born a Greek and a Macedonian and my "ethnic identity has not been denied." Furthermore, many of the Macedonians who speak or are familiar with that Slavic language also speak Greek as their primary or secondary language and do not associate with the separatist elements. They are the "dopii," a Greek word meaning "locals," distinguishing them from the refugees from Asia Minor, whom the report confuses with its own Macedonians. Indeed, these Macedonian Slavs -- called "Grecomans" because they refused to join the Bulgarian Exarchate and remained faithful to Constantinople -- associate with Greece, and many fought on the Greek side during the Macedonian wars. Even more seriously, the report should be faulted for creating questionable impressions about the twentieth-century demographics in the region. Let me cite a few examples. The report suggests that "most of the inhabitants" (italics added) of the geographic region may be "a distinct Macedonian ethnic group." This cannot be true. Next, and in the same vein, it states, using a recycled FYROM source, that in 1912 in "Aegean" Macedonia there were 326,426 Macedonians and 240,019 Greeks. This also cannot be accurate, and not only because at that time the statistics did not recognize a "Macedonian" nationality and there was no distinct Aegean Macedonia. As reported by Loring Danforth, if at that time the "Slavic-speaking Christians in [greater] Macedonia were pressed to state their national identity, some of them would have said that they were Serbs, many of them would have said that they were Greeks, but the majority of them would undoubtedly have said they were Bulgarians" ("Competing Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Breakup of...
Ourselves and Others: The Development of a Greek Macedonian Cultural Identity since 1912. PETER MACKRIDGE and ELENI YANNAKAKIS. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1997. xii + 259 pp., contributors, notes, bibliography, index.
History of the Name Macedonia
  • N Andriotes
Andriotes, N. 1960. History of the Name Macedonia, Balkan Studies 1, 143
A Problem of Recognition—The Controversy About Macedonia
  • F Algieri
Algieri, F. 1994. A Problem of Recognition—The Controversy About Macedonia, CFSP Forum, 1, 3
Hat Genscher Jugoslawien entzweit?
  • H Axt
Axt. H. 1993. Hat Genscher Jugoslawien entzweit? Europa-Archiv, 351