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Macedonia needs full international recognition for its name

March 14, 2008

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Financial Times London, March 13 - The region’s urgent need for EU-oriented progress was underlined by worrying developments in Macedonia, where the government faces collapse. While the immediate cause is an internal ethnic row, the country is under severe external pressure from neighbouring Greece. Athens refuses to recognise Macedonia under its chosen name, insisting it must be known internationally as Fyrom – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Greece is concerned a change might somehow prompt Macedonian claims to the Greek province of Macedonia.
Greece should drop this approach. The hazards of confusing Macedonia with Greek Macedonia are nothing compared with the risks of instability in Macedonia. The country needs the confidence-boost that would come from full international recognition for its name. It is particularly dangerous that this row has flared when Macedonia, along with Croatia and Albania, is hoping to join Nato. It would be inexcusable if Macedonia lost out because of this unhelpful argument with Greece.

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