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CrisisWatch Macedonia

Unchanged Situation

Month saw further progress toward resolution of longstanding name-dispute with Greece, which would unblock path to launch of EU accession talks and NATO membership. Macedonia 6 Feb officially renamed main airport and highway, both previously named after Alexander the Great, in concession to Greece; PM Zaev same day said govt prepared to add geographical qualifier to name Macedonia; 19 Feb said he hopes dispute will be resolved by July NATO summit. Reported options under negotiation include: Republic of North Macedonia; Republic of Upper Macedonia; Republic of Vardar Macedonia; and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje). In late Feb media interview Zaev said he was hopeful of a settlement but said Greek demand for Macedonia to amend its constitution to show it had no claim on Greek territory was unreasonable. Nationalist elements in both countries continued to express opposition to compromise on name dispute: police in Greek capital Athens reported 140,000 people joined protest 4 Feb against use of name “Macedonia” by northern neighbour; in Skopje, several thousand protested against name change 27 Feb. European Commission President Juncker during late Feb visit praised progress on name dispute and pace of govt reforms. EU 6 Feb launched new enlargement strategy for Western Balkans, calling on countries to “urgently redouble their efforts, address vital reforms and complete their political, economic and social transformation”.

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Reports & Briefings

Latest Updates

The Western Balkans: Fragile Majorities

Political instability keeps growing in the Western Balkans amid geopolitical contests and increased tensions with Russia. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to engage intensively to ensure the political space for avoiding more serious crisis does nto entirely vanish in the Western Balkans.

Macedonia: Defusing the Bombs

Macedonia is being shaken by twin political and security crises, both of which could escalate into violent confrontation or worse. While another civil war in the Western Balkans is not imminent, there is a serious threat to regional stability that the country’s leaders and international partners need to contain.

Also available in Македонски, Shqip

The Macedonian revolution to come

Just two years ago it appeared that deadly conflict in Macedonia was no longer a serious risk. Recent events have revived the threat.

Originally published in POLITICO