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Name Is More Important To Macedonians Than NATO, EU Membership July 28, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, NATO, Yunanistan.
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Everybody is concerned about their identity but not to the extent as Macedonians do. A recent poll carried out by the Institute for Political Research showed that a total of 66.5% of Macedonians considered preserving their country’s name more important than joining the EU and the NATO blocs.

Out of 1,110 respondents, only 26.2 percent said that they were in favor of their country’s membership of the two alliances. However, respondents from different ethnic backgrounds had a different say. Nearly 78 percent of ethnic Albanians, who form one quarter of country’s 2.1 billion population, want the country to join the NATO and the EU, while 82 percent said that name was more important to them.

It may be noted that Macedonia’s EU entry was postponed in December last year because of its unresolved name dispute with its southern neighbor Greece. The two neighbors have been fighting over the use of ‘Macedonia’ since 1991 when Macedonia became independent from former Yugoslavia.

Greece argues that the newly-independent state cannot keep the same name that its own northern province already has. Greece is also against the ambiguous use of the term ‘Macedonian’ to describe the neighboring country’s main ethnic group and language.

Greece, which refers Macedonia as former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM, had also foiled the southeast European nation’s bid to join NATO two years ago over the same dispute.

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