Greece backs Macedonia’s NATO accession

Austria Macedonia

Austria Macedonia

The 153-140 vote in favor of the former Yugoslav republic's NATO membership came after the country agreed previous year to change its name to North Macedonia and following ratification of the deal by the countries' parliaments.

The vote was carried with the support of 145 votes from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party and six independent MPs.

Greece's parliament has approved a measure for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, ending a decades-old dispute.

The Greek Parliament on January 26 passed the Macedonia name-change deal with a majority of 153 votes in favour of the deal, while the 146 legislators voting against the deal, out of a total 300-seats in the Parliament.

Since 1991, Athens has objected to its neighbour being called Macedonia because Greece has a northern province of the same name.

"I'd like to welcome North Macedonia, a country friendly to Greece, a country that must be an ally in efforts to establish security, stability and peace in the region", he said.




Negotiations between Greece and Macedonia were protracted and hard.

"Clearly it is in Greece's interest to promote a European course for all its neighbors, not just for North Macedonia - and not [back] the influence of third forces in the neighborhood, with different aspirations and pursuits", Tsipras said. Despite strong misgivings from opposition parties and public opinion, both ratified it in parliament.

The newly-named Republic of North Macedonia earlier this week signed an accession pact with NATO, which began its membership process. Provided lawmakers vote for the motion, Greece's foreign ministry will promptly notify the Macedonian government of the result.

The neighboring state must now formally request all countries to start using the name "Republic of North Macedonia" from now on, he noted.

Government spokesman Mile Boshnjakovski told The Associated Press this would happen "in coming days".

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