Athens ratifies agreement with Skopje
January 26, 2019
Greek Parliamentarians approved the Prespa Accord after a heated debate on Friday, ending a decades-old dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Out of a total of 300 MPís, 153 voted in favor of the agreement. 146 voted against and there was one abstention.
Apart from the 145 SYRIZA MPs, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also relied on the votes of eight MPs from the centrist To Potami Party and the Independent Greeks Party (ANEL).
During the vote, extreme right Golden Dawn MPs were chanting "traitors, traitors" to MPs who voted in favor of the Agreement.
The FYROM parliament endorsed the same agreement on January 11. According to constitutional changes adopted, the small Balkan nation will be renamed North Macedonia.
The accordís ratification by the Greek parliament will presumably unblock FYROMís E.U. and NATO integration processes.
Top political officials from around the world hailed the Greek Parliamentís ratification of the Prespa Agreement on Friday. The ratification in effect settles the "Macedonia" name dispute between FYROM and Greece and paves the way for the Balkan country to join NATO.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the news. The NATO chief praised the move, saying "the vote is "an important contribution to the stability and prosperity of the whole region."
"I welcome todayís ratification of the "Prespa agreement", an important contribution to the stability and prosperity of the whole region. I look forward to the future Republic of North Macedonia joining NATO", he said.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the senior official supervising the blocís enlargement said in a joint statement that they "warmly welcome" the Athens vote, adding that it has "written a new page of our common E.U. future."
Tweeting his congratulations in Greek to FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, E.U. Council President Donald Tusk said: "They had imagination, they took the risk, they did not hesitate to sacrifice their interests for the common good. "Alexis, Zoran Ė bravo! You achieved the impossible," Tusk added jubilantly.