The Macedonian Name Change

September 6, 2018

Macedonia EU Greece

Madeconia, FYROM, or North Macedonia? The “Macedonian Question” dates back to 19th and early 20th century conflicts over territory, identity, and nationalism in the Balkans. A decision has finally been made, and the country has a new name: North Macedonia.

When the conflicts began over one hundred years ago, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs fought to control the Macedonian territory that the Ottomans had administered for five hundred years. When Yugoslavia took over for much of the 20th century the issue was temporarily put to rest, but the emergence of the independent Republic of Macedonia in 1991 reopened the Macedonian Question.

Greece objected to the use of the name Macedonia, which it claims is a threat to its territory by the same name. The nation used its veto power to block Macedonia’s application for membership in NATO and the European Union. In 2018, however, the leaders of the two countries agreed to mutually recognize the Republic of North Macedonia, clearing the way for the newest member of NATO and the EU.

The name change was not official until very recently. A referendum in September 2018 resulted in a vote to accept the change, and the issue was approved in January 2019 by both the the Greek and Macedonian parliaments.

Church of St. John at Kaneo, North Macedonia