Politics Everywhere

Politics Everywhere: Who Gets to Be “Macedonia”?

John Sides Jul 24 '09

bq. The European Union is a club with a long line out the door. Just ask Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, or Turkey. But for one Balkan country, the biggest problem is showing the right ID at the velvet rope. Seven former communist countries were able to enter both NATO and the EU by the end of the Bush years. But last year the Greek government blocked the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from joining NATO, citing bad neighborly relations, and is determined to torpedo its EU bid as well. The reason? It’s all in a name.

So write Thomas Meanay and my colleage Harris Mylonas in Foreign Policy. That names are political is nothing new (California Civil Rights Initiative, anyone?). Less common is to have two countries fighting over a name:

bq. FYROM, perhaps due to the unwieldiness of its acronym, has tried to enter as just “Macedonia,” the name of the ancient empire of Alexander the Great. But Greece also has a northern province called “Macedonia” and worries that Skopje has expansionist ambitions.

See the article for much more.