The Parliament of Macedonia, with 68 votes in favour and with no abstentions, decided to hold a referendum on the name of the country on 30 September 2018. The government wants to complete the rename procedure on 15 January 2019.

The question of the referendum will state: “Do you support EU and NATO membership with the adoption of the Treaty between the Republic of Macedonia and the Hellenic Republic?”.

If the agreement signed on 17 June is approved and the necessary constitutional amendments are made in the Republic of Macedonia, Greece commits itself to suspend the blockade for the membership of the country in Euro-Atlantic structures. Due to the dispute about the name, our Western neighbour has been blocked on its path towards the EU and NATO for over two decades. Against the treaty, President George Ivanov and the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE of Christian Mitzkoski, whose members left the parliamentary session.

According to EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Macedonia is the one, that has made the most progress in reforms over the past year compared with all the countries of the Western Balkans. He believes that even the severe political crisis has not diminished Skopje’s desire to move ahead and realise the Euro-Atlantic perspective.

Hahn strongly announced that the forthcoming referendum in the country is an important step on the road to membership in the European Union and NATO.

However, Russia did not forget to respond to the events, pointing out that Macedonia’s entry into NATO would make the country part of the Alliance’s military machine, which in turn makes it a possible target. Moscow believes that Macedonia’s membership could seriously harm regional security and the atmosphere of trust which could affect bilateral relations between both countries.

NATO enlargement is not a threat to Russia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović reacted. She also expressed her support to Republic of Macedonia’s path to NATO, but added that Skopje must meet all criteria.