The Macedonian Parliament has approved the renaming of the southern Balkan country in the North of Macedonia and thus its part for the settlement of the dispute with Greece fulfilled. For the corresponding amendment to the Constitution of the 120 MPs voted on Friday evening 81, whereby the required two-thirds majority was narrowly achieved. There were neither votes against nor abstentions. The nationalist Opposition took part in the vote. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) in Berlin welcomed the vote.

The renaming of the country is a key condition for Macedonia to settle the name dispute with Greece. Thus, the way to inclusion in Nato and EU for Macedonia has been blocked in Athens so far.

After the independence, in the process of the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, the country was under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (abbreviation: FYROM) a member of the United Nations. Greece has since been a name change, because a province in the North of the country also bears the name Macedonia (Greek: Makedonia).

Several Changes in the Constitution

the vote on Friday evening, the Parliament amended the Constitution in several points. In addition to the name change, the people’s representatives also decided on a formulation, which holds that Macedonia has no claims on territories of neighbouring countries.

The social democratic Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev had negotiated up to the last intensively with the Albanian parties, the guarantees for the protection of their rights in the amended Constitution had required. Macedonia is inhabited by a majority of Slavic Macedonians. The Albanians make up about 25 percent of the population. In addition, there are Serbs and Roma in the Balkan country.

last June, had agreed Zaev and his Greek colleague, Mr Alexis Tsipras that Greece ends its blockade against Macedonia, as the Northern neighbour in the North-renaming Macedonia. Nationalists in both countries reject this solution. They justify the fears that they might lose their national identity.