Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
EFA Condemns attacks against the Macedonian language in EU institutions

European Free Alliance EFA sends letters of protest to the European Commission, European Parliament and an open-letter to all MEPs from Greece

The European Free Alliance - European Political Party (EFA) is deeply concerned by the latest campaign of Greek MEPs within EU institutions to replace and in some instances eradicate the use of the term "Macedonian” to describe the Macedonian language, Macedonian culture and persons identifying as ethnic Macedonians.

It is well known that the motivation of Greece and its MEPs on this issue is its blatant refusal to recognise Macedonian identity, both in Greece and beyond. Indeed, Greece's aggressive behaviour on this issue is something not new to EFA. Our party was a witness to Greece's deplorable policy of rejecting the existence of ethnic Macedonian identity in Greece during a fact-finding visit to the country in 2006.

EFA wishes to point out that any attempts by bodies of the European Parliament or by Commission to bow to the absurd demands of the Greek MEPs to rename the Macedonian language are not in conformity with article 6(3) of the Treaty on the European Union which declares that: "The Union shall respect the national identities of its Member States.” The Republic of Macedonia is an official candidate country to join the EU and thus it is logical and appropriate for the institutions (and indeed the Member-States) to act in conformity with the principles and spirit contained in the treaties, in the lead-up to the accession of the aforementioned country to the EU.

Moreover, it is quite absurd and indeed erroneous to call the Macedonian language something which it is not. All serious linguists are in agreement on the use of the term Macedonian to describe it. Moreover and ironically, the strongest piece of evidence for the existence of a language called Macedonian comes not from the academic world, but from the Greek state itself. In the Greek census of 1920, the Macedonian language (not Slav-Macedonian, Slavic language or Slavic idiom) was listed as a language spoken by parts of the population in Greece. Parts of the official census results were published (and therefore recognised) by the Greek state. They can be found in the General Archives of the Greek state and has been republished in a book by M. Houliarakis (Geografiki, dioikitiki kai plithismiaki ekseliksi tis Ellados tom G' page 363).

Given that Greece in 1920 officially referred to the Macedonian language as Macedonian, any attempt by the same state almost a century later to modify or eradicate the name of the language (and people and culture connected to it) must be rejected.