Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Zoran Zaev hailed the agreement reached with Greece earlier this month settling the decades-old name dispute, as solving “the biggest problem that was preventing our development since our independence.”
In an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle on Thursday, the moderate leftist premier expressed his satisfaction at the fact that so-called Prespes agreement – named after the northern Greece lake district where it was signed – has given FYROM “crystal-clear confirmation of the Macedonian language and identity of Macedonians, at home and abroad.”
“Translatable, without any limitations, into all languages in the world, an identity for overall use,” he said.
“Those political factors that cannot see this are creating new divisions. We need to unite around this new historical opportunity. I believe in this, and I will invest all my political integrity and energy to that end,” Zaev added.
The agreement with Athens foresees the Balkan nation changing its name to North Macedonia and amending its constitution to remove clauses Greece sees as expressing irredentist ambitions over the region of Macedonia. However, it also concedes the people of FYROM calling themselves, their nationality and their language “Macedonian,” with a caveat explaining that they have no connection to ancient Macedonia and Greece.
Reactions from the opposition both in Greece and FYROM to the deal, Zaev told Deutsche Welle, is a sign “that a good compromise… has been reached.
“The citizens of Macedonia have full recognition of the Macedonian identity on all accounts, and the citizens of Greece have recognition of the Hellenic inheritance of the ancient part of history,” he said.