EU urges all sides to ‘respect’ Macedonia name change vote
Resolves dispute with Greece, which claims moniker for northern province
The European Union urged all sides to respect the outcome of Sunday’s referendum in Macedonia, AFP reported. Voters overwhelmingly chose to rename the country and pave the way for accession to NATO and the EU.
“I congratulate those citizens who voted in today’s consultative referendum and made use of their democratic freedoms,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a statement. “I now expect all political leaders to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines, in the interest of the country.”
According to the official count, with ballots from 43% of polling stations counted, 90.72% of votes were in favor of changing the name to North Macedonia.
The name change to Republic of North Macedonia, agreed with Athens in the so-called Prespa Agreement, would resolve a long-standing dispute with EU-member Greece, which claims the name Macedonia for its own northern province.
“With the very significant ‘yes’ vote, there is broad support for the Prespa Agreement and for the country’s Euroatlantic path,” Hahn said.