The first direct flight from Skopje to Athens took place on Thursday (1 November) after a 15-year “air embargo” in a sign that the two countries are determined to turn a new page in Balkan politics, after being locked in a diplomatic dispute over Skopje's official name.
The Macedonian parliament approved on Friday (19 October) a proposal to change the country's name, bringing a decades-old dispute with Greece one step closer to being resolved.
The recently reached "historic" name deal between Athens and Skopje will have a wider positive impact and a spill-over effect in entire South-East Europe, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
Macedonia's parliament will vote Monday (15 October) on whether to ratify a deal to change the country's name, in a bid to finally settle one of Europe's longest running disputes.
Experience garnered during previous enlargements has taught the EU a lesson: that the bloc should not import existing disputes when granting membership, an EU spokesperson told EURACTIV, after FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov accused Brussels of “double standards”.
A big controversy is ongoing in Greece following reports that the country’s largest opposition force, New Democracy, which strongly opposes the name deal with Skopje, has had secretive contacts with the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Zoran Zaev.
The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, are among the favourites to become nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, according to a Swedish journalist specialised in covering the secretive decision-making of the Nobel committee.
Macedonia can only join NATO if it implements the name deal with Greece, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday (2 October), putting fresh pressure on Skopje to ratify the agreement despite protests from opposition parties.
The result of Sunday's referendum in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on whether to accept a name deal with Greece provided a "crucial political benefit" for its prime minister despite a low voter turnout, Nikos Xydakis, an influential parliamentary representative in the Greek house, told EURACTIV.com.
Two days before a crucial referendum that could open the doors of Macedonia to NATO and EU membership, an official from Skopje speaking in Brussels on Friday (28 September) made it clear that the authorities will declare the result as legitimate even i...