Analysts have identified a number of “grey” or murky points and problems in the FYROM naming settlement.
The prime minister has been criticised, for example for the fact that the agreement does not note the Slavic version of the name agreed to – Severna Macedonia – but rather presents it only in translation.
International Law and Foreign Policy Professor Angelos Syrigos, in an analysis published in the daily Ta Nea touched upon the problematic points in the agreement: the breadth of use of the new name and the issues of ethnicity and language.
Regarding the use of the new name in all circumstances, the text of the accord declares that the name “Northern Macedonia” will apply erga omnes. That means that whatever the name, its use will be general, for everything and everyone. The first murky point, according to Syrigos is that if the state is called Northern Macedonia, then its residents should be called Northern Macedonian, as should the language, as derivatives of the name of the state. That is not the case.
Regarding the citizenship, the accord says that citizens of FYROM will be known as Macedonian/Citizen of Northern Macedonia. Syrigos says that no one will say “I am Macedonian/Citizen of Northern Macedonia”, but rather “I am Macedonian”. Hence, one will have a state called Northern Macedonia, which is inhabited by Macedonians.
In addition, the ability of every country to interpret the term “Macedonians” (Article 7) as it sees fit is annulled by the fact that the state officially has in it name the term “Macedonians” with the agreement of the other state.
Another question is how and when FYROM will enter Nato. If the Nato accession process begins, it cannot be cut off.
On the contrary, the EU accession process is long-term and entails closing 35 chapters which include the EU acquis, the body of laws, rules and regulations. Theoretically, Greece can suspend the process by blocking any one of those chapters.
On Skopje’s side, the most difficult point is the constitutional revision. It requires an enhanced majority of two-thirds of the MPs, or 80 out of 120.
In addition, there must be a parallel majority by ethnic group in parliament (ethnic Albanians and ethnic Slavs).
Even if PM Zoran Zaev were to win the planned referendum, it will be difficult to recruit opposition MPs to support the required constitutional revision, Syrigos says.