Macedonian Identity “To Be Defined”

resizer13The European Commission has decided to redefine the terms “Macedonian”, “Macedonians” and country code “MK” in its institutional style guide, Erik Meijer, European Parliament Rapporteur for Macedonia, suspects.

According to information obtained by Eric Meijer, these terms now in common use are to be replaced with the designation “to be defined”, in order to satisfy Greece’s objections to the name “Macedonia”. The “altered” style guide is not yet available to the public.

Meijer was cited by the Macedonian national news agency, MIA, asking the EC whether it takes into account that this only complicates matters by taking the “name” row into new and “very sensitive” fields of national identity that will be “impossible to solve”.

However, in an interview for local Alfa TV this afternoon Meijer said he got reassured by the EC that this means nothing in practice. “It means the situation will not change” and the terms will remain in use, he said.

Athens blocked Skopje last April from NATO entry, objecting that only the Greek northern province has the right to call itself Macedonia. Greece stated that it could block Macedonia’s EU accession as well, if it did not change its name.

In an EC response to Meijer, MIA reports, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso confirms it is true they used standard names until recently, but that, in the summer of 2008, a decision was taken to make this change. Thus, in the inter institutional style guide compiled by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, these terms have been replaced with “to be defined”. The commission says all references are strictly in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 817/93.

Meijer also expresses concerns about the delaying of the date for opening EU accession talks for Macedonia, despite recent European Parliament recommendations assessing that Greek opposition could continue for years, MIA reported. The country achieved candidate status in 2005, but the EC did not grant an extended recommendation for further progress due to insufficient internal reforms.

Long-standing UN-sponsored name talks between Macedonia and Greece have so far been in vain. While Greece insists a composite name for its neighbour should be used by all countries, Macedonia accepts a mutually agreeable name only in correspondence with Greece, since only this country has such problems.

Additionally, the talks have in effect ground to a halt, as both countries are currently occupied with domestic elections.

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