The Greek parliament will vote late Thursday on the deal to change Macedonia’s name to “North Macedonia”, Athens News Agency reports.
Earlier this month the parliament of Macedonia approved the name change.
Endorsement of the new name by Greece would mean an open way for North Macedonia to join the EU and NATO. Greece has so far vetoed country’s membership arguing that its previous name implied territorial ambitions towards Greece’s northern region of Macedonia.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently won a confidence vote in parliament after the coalition right-wing party Independent Greeks (ANEL) left the government in opposition to the name change deal. Opposition’s biggest party, the New Democracy, is also against the deal. Last Sunday thousands of Greeks protested violently against the name change.
However, Tsipras seems confident in securing the majority of votes for the deal in the 300-seat parliament. The ratification requires only half of the votes of deputies present in the session but Tsipras has stated that he will get an absolute majority in tomorrow’s voting, i.e. at least 151 of the 300 votes.
UN special mediator between Greece and Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, warned recently that if the name change is not ratified by both parliaments, “the consequences of the failure would be profound,” and a new “quick solution” for the name deal between the two countries wouldn’t be possible.
The EU and NATO have urged both countries to approve the name change.