Essay: The Impacts of the Name dispute between Greece and Fyrom in the Europeanization process of Macedonia

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EU: European Union
SAP: Stabilisation and Association Process
FYROM: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
SAA: Stabilization and Association Agreement
IPA: Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance
ECHO: The Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission
ASNOM: Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia









What are impacts of Name dispute between Greece and Fyrom in the Europeanization process of Macedonia?

This study mainly aims to discuss and analyze the issue of name between Greece and  Macedonia, and effects of this dispute over Macedonian Europeanization process. Macedonia, newly founded state with the dissolution of Former Yugoslavia ,was supposed to need a democratic way which will sustain security, stability, and prosperity In that regards EU based on certain values such as freedom, democracy, rule of law, respect for minority rights and most substantially sustain economic assistance to members that need. Macedonia was decided to attend these values however Greece became main obstacle in this process.
The paper demonstrates that Name dispute have a huge impact upon the Europeanization process of Macedonia.

Key Words: EU Integration, Name Dispute, FYROM, Macedonia , Alexander the Great and Phillip, Territorial Claims, Identity, Border Issue.

In 1991 with the dissolution of Federal Yugoslavia, Macedonia has become independent with
approval of %95 of eligible voters in referendum. Kiro Gligorov is elected first president of
independent Macedonia. New constitution is adopted, declaring the Republic of Macedonia
a sovereign, independent, civil, and democratic state, and recognizing complete equality of
the Macedonians and the ethnic minorities in the country. As a sovereign and democratic
state Macedonia needs to sustain its security, develop economy and democracy. With this
aim Macedonia applied for Eu membership, however Greece as a full-member of EU has
hindered this application due to name dispute of macedonia. Over two decades since its
independence Macedonia faced with different challenges on the way of integration in the
European Union, in that regard Greek prevention makes them main obstacle in
Macedonian EU process.

‘’The Republic of Macedonia and Greece are neighboring countries that claim to be
committed to the defense of democratic values and the strategic goal of a stable, united
and prosperous Europe. Today, instead of working together to achieve these goals,
Macedonia and Greece are trapped in emotions evoked by the spirit of Alexander the
Great, who died some 2300 years ago. Both countries share parts of the territory of
Alexander’s legendary Kingdom and claim their rights to ancient Macedonian heritage
including the name “Macedonia.” The dispute between the two nations has arisen over
the simple issue of whether the Republic of Macedonia, a young country that emerged
from the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, may call itself Macedonia.’’

In this paper ,I will analyze the roots of problem that emerged aftermath of dissolution of
Yugoslavia between Greece and Macedonia.In that regard first chapter give information
about modern history of Macedonia because this name issue has directly linked to history of
Greece and Macedonia, second chaper elaborates the Europeanization process of
Macedonia, especially steps that are realized by Macedonia for this integration. Third
chapter focus on Name dispute over process both political, ethnic and territorial aspect.
Then paper will analyze the name proposals instead of Macedonia in order to solve this
problem. Lastly paper finishes with summarized conclusion.


‘’Macedonia is located in the center of the Southern Balkans, north of ancient Hellas (Greece),

east of Illyria, and west of Thrace. The name “Macedonia” is the oldest surviving name of a

country on the continent of Europe. The ancient Macedonians were a distinct nation,

ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from their neighbors. Their origins are in the

ancient Brygian (Phrygian) substratum that occupied the whole of Macedonian territory and

in Indo-European superstratum, which settled here at the end of the 2nd millennium.’’

However name dispute has directly linked with historical background of country. Main issue stem from national identity and history fight. This means that both Nations Greeks and Macedons are sharing the same history. Both these nations claim that they have right to use of name of Macedonia, with Macedonian symbol (kutlesh star (vergina sun),and Macedonian Identity. There are two sides with two different statement. In order to understand the name issue, we need to look at historical period of Macedonia exclusively. ‘’This period consist of three part: first, the time from the reigns of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great to the Ottoman Empire; second, the era from the beginning of the 20th century until the Balkan wars (1912, 1913); and, third, during and after World War II.’’

From Ancient Macedonia to the Ottoman Empire

‘’The word “Macedonia” applies to the geographic region occupying the central
part of the Balkan Peninsula that covers about 67,741 square kilometers. Historically, the
Macedonian geographic boundaries changed constantly, until they were officially
recognized in the nineteenth century. The surrounding countries have traditionally been
attracted to the geo-strategic position of the Macedonian territory. Macedonia has served
as an economic crossroads, linking Central Europe and the Mediterranean region with the
Near East and the Suez Canal. Macedonia also links the Drin river valley with the
Adriatic Sea. Via Egnatia, the shortest Roman-era cross route to cross the Balkans, runs
through Macedonia, connecting the Adriatic Sea to the Bosphorus through Thessalonica’’

Although sharing the same history with Greeks, speaking Greek and dressing like them,
Macedonian do not accept themselves as Greek , on the contrary identified themselves as
genuine Macedon and built their own unique society in that regard. Macedonian see Phillip
II and Alexander the Great as their ancestor, in the constituting of national identity these
two figures are crucial, that’s why Greeks and Macedon are in fight of history because they
are trying to prove their national identity. Despite the limited knowledge about Macedonian
history Some evidence suggests that the period between the reigns of the first Macedonian
KingPerdiccas I (700 BC) and Phillip II (359-336 BC) was marked by instability, domestic
anarchy and external attacks. The Macedonian kingdom during Philip II’s rule prospered.
Philip introduced reforms in governance and the financial system of the state, and
encouraged the growth of economic trade, thus making the Macedonian state an
important trade factor in the Mediterranean.6 Furthermore, between 356 and 338 BC,
Philip II took advantage of the long-lasting political crisis in Greece and conquered its
territories Thessaly, Chalcidice, and Thrace. With their final victory over the Greek army
in 338 BC, the Macedonians established their dominance in the Balkans and their
hegemony was recognized by the Greek city-states. The glorious era of the Macedonian
kingdom continued under Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. In several battles between 334-
331 BC Alexander’s army defeatedthe Persians and expanded the Macedonian kingdom to
the east. The 331 BC victory atGaugamela established Alexander as the master of the Near-
and Middle East. Heextended his kingdom from the western Balkans to India and from the
Danube River andthe Black Sea to Egypt, Libya and Cyrenaica. After his death in 323 BC, his
enormousand “ungovernable” kingdom began to collapse .

In both nation there is a belief that they have direct historical links with this glorious Ancient
Kingdom of Macedon and society of Macedonian, there is a desire to identify themselves
with abundant society of Macedonia . Greeks claim that “during Antiquity, Macedonia was
part of the Hellenic world and the foundation of Alexander the Great’s vast empire.
Alexander the Great is significant to the Greeks because of his strong role in spreading
Hellenic culture to distant parts of the then unknown world. Greeks also take pride in being
descendants of his “extraordinary figure.” On the other hand , Macedonian rejected this
understanding instead they developed their own perspective and comparitive analysis of
the two the two civilizations’ formation of statehood and stabilization of territorial integrity.
With blaming each other two societies improved different political ,social , economical and
cultural aspects in this regard.

The Balkan Wars and the End of the Ottoman Empire

With Balkan wars in 1912-13 , Ottoman Empire lost its land in Balkans and these nations
that live here gaind their independence .This outcome caused anoter longstanding political
problem concerning Macedonia and Greeks. All Nations in Balkans are trying to gain their
freedom from Ottoman Empire and building of sovereign and national identity. These
desires of Balkan Nations caused territorial and minority dispute and partittioning of
Macedonia.In the nineteenth century, the Ottoman rulers divided the Balkan territory into
“three vilayets,” named Solun (Thessaloniki), Bitola, and Kosovo, known as Macedonia by
Macedoniannationalists as well as the rest of the world. In today’s terminology, this territory
is called “Greater Macedonia. Future of Macedonian land was determined among the
Balkan countries. In the First Balkan War in 1912, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro
came together, attacked Ottoman Empire and defeated Empire. At the end of First Balkan
War Macedonia was occupied by Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia and Albania was created. In
that War Macedonian rebelled against Ottoman Empire with the sovereingty promise of
Balkan states.However with the London Conference Agreement in may 1913, Macedonia
was divided among Balkan allies.

Aftermath of Ottoman withdrawal from Balkans, Balkan Allies states couldn’t share the lands
that gained this caused another second Balkan War, also known as the Inter-Allied War . This
time Serbian and Greek allied to attack Bulgarian in order to regain control of Macedonia
and Bulgaria was defeated in its own territory, meanwhile Ottoman took back Eastern
Thrace. ‘’The Second Balkan War ended with the signing of the Bucharest Treaty at a
conference held on August 10, 1913. This conference resulted in the redistribution of the
Macedonian land between Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Albania. Bulgaria received the
eastern part, known as Pirin Macedonia; Serbia took Vardar Macedonia in the north; and
Greece received the Aegean part. Although the Greek rulers received the biggest portion of
the Macedonian territory, they nonetheless did not keep the name Macedonia, nor did they
use it in describing the region until the 1980’s. In 1919 Albania also received a small part of
the Macedonian territory.’’

Interwar Period – Between the Two World Wars
During the World War I, Great Powers on both sides ignored the Macedonian question .

Problem came to desk at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 when The Treaty of Versailles

signed. With the end of WW I, Committee established to deal with the creation of new

states. However Different aspects on the Macedonian identity issues came under

consideration, Great Powers did not declare Macedonia as an independent state, instead

Conferenceconcluded that Macedonians should be treated as a minority and the territory

they inhabited should be divided among four neighboring countries: Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria

and Albania.

Macedonians in the Occupied Territories

‘’Greece took the biggest piece with the 1913 partition of Macedonia: about 34,356 square

kilometers. Although statistics about the national composition of the population in Aegean

Macedonia before 1913 are inaccurate, all but Greek sources claim that Macedonians were

the biggest group at 28 percent, followed by 25 percent Turks, and 21 percent Greeks.

Immediately after the occupation, the Greek government started a forcible Hellenization of

the Macedonian population. The existence of any Macedonians was totally denied, the use

of their language was strictly forbidden, and both their personal names and the geographic

toponyms were replaced by Greek names’’ .

‘’In order to make significant changes to the national structure, the Greek government turned

to forced emigration and colonization of the population in Aegean Macedonia. Population

exchanges occurred mainly with Bulgaria and Turkey. Over 80,000 Macedonians were
expelled from Greece to Bulgaria, and 23,000 Greeks from Bulgaria settled in Aegean

Macedonia. Approximately 400,000 Turks were expelled from Greece in 1923, while

1,200,000 Greeks from Asia Minor settled in Greece.’’

‘’Serbia and Bulgaria occupied a smaller part of Macedonian. In 1918, with its 25,713 square

kilometers and 728,286 inhabitants, the Serbian dominated Vardar Macedonia became part

ofthe Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, better known as Yugoslavia. As in Greece,

Macedonians under Serb rule were not allowed to declare their national identity, were

called Serbs and exposed to forced assimilation. Initially the Serbian part of Macedonia was

called “Southern Serbia.” During the period between the two World Wars this area was

named Vardarska Banovina (Province of Vardar). After World War II Vardarska Banovina

became partof the Yugoslav federation under the name of The People’s Republic of

Macedonia. It was renamed again in 1963 as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.’’

World War II

Macedonians, led by their aspirations for self-determination and creation of their

independent state, started an active anti-fascist movement in 1940. The communist leader

Josip Broz Tito, whose plan was the unification of all the Yugoslav territories, supported

the Macedonian resistance. Macedonian see this Yugoslav anti-fascist movement as an

advantage to realize their natioal wisdom.In order to do that, around sixty thousand

Macedonian attended the Yugoslav partisans and constituted about five hundred ‘national

liberation councils’ throughout the occupied territory. They achieved success on August 2,
1944 during thefirst session of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of

Macedonia(ASNOM) held at the Monastery St. Prochor Pcinski, when the delegation decided

to establish the Macedonian state. This event is considered as one of the most important in

modern Macedonian history.

‘’After centuries of repression, partition and assimilation, theAssembly’s decision opened the

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