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North Macedonia name change enters force

February 13, 2019

The process of changing the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's name has come to an end. Athens and Skopje first agreed on the name change in a landmark deal in June 2018.

North Macedonian flag
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Perkovksi

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has formally renamed itself the Republic of North Macedonia, the government in Skopje said on Tuesday.

The amendment that changed the country's name became law with its publication in the official gazette, a month after the parliament approved the move.

North Macedonia also formally notified the United Nations about the name change, the government said.

The move ends a long-running dispute between North Macedonia and its southern neighbor, Greece, and has opened a path for Skopje to join the NATO military alliance and the European Union.

Read more: Macedonia: What's in a name?

Greece ratifies North Macedonia's name change

Athens had blocked its northern neighbor from joining either bloc because it claimed "Macedonia" and the name's historical associations for one of its northern provinces.

Greece only allowed Skopje to join the UN in 1995 as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," a reference to the country's former membership of Yugoslavia.

Both countries' leftist governments eventually agreed on the compromise "North Macedonia" in June 2018 and won parliamentary approval in Skopje and Athens for the deal in January.

Greece has ratified an accession protocol that North Macedonia signed with all 29 members of NATO last week. North Macedonia will formally join the alliance once all members ratify the accord.

amp/rc (AP, dpa)

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