Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Now is the time for 'Macedonia'

The recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as 'Macedonia' by the Bush administration was of course negative, but at least it has brought an important issue back to attention.

'Macedonians' must not entertain any thoughts that they will ever be accepted into the European Union under the name of 'Macedonia'. Greece will block all such efforts until the name issue is resolved.

Macedonia is a geographical entity, and it is absurd for a small part of geographic Macedonia to use a name such as 'Republic of Macedonia'. It would be equivalent to Canada calling itself 'North America'.

FYROM must agree to a change of name. This will immediately open the road for its full integration into the European Union, to the removal of all hostility in Greek-FYROM relations, and to a strengthening of the region. It's not Orthodox Greece which is a threat to FYROM, but the threat of Albanization.

The people of FYROM must seize the historic opportunity now to find a solution. If they want to associate themselves with Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonians, then they can continue to do so even if they have a different name. Of course, this will not change the fact that they're medieval Slavic arrivals to the Balkans and unrelated to the ancient Macedonians.

The people of FYROM have a chance to become secure within the European family, or to choose to go at it alone. It's a simple choice, and the sooner it's taken, the better it will be for all.

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