Since gaining independence from Yugoslavia twenty-two years ago, Macedonia has failed to form successful relationships with neighboring. The governments have failed to generate long-term resolutions to some chronic problems.
One of the most prominent and probably the most internationally well-known debate concerning Macedonia is the confrontation with Greece over the country's name. As Greece also has a province called Macedonia within its boundary, Athens considers the existence of a independent nation-state with the same name as a threat against its territorial integrity. Thus Greece refused to recognize Macedonia with its constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - and the latter had to change its name and flag as a result of Athens' pressure in 1993. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993 but it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In 1995 Greece and Macedonia signed an agreement in which Greece assured that it would not prevent Macedonia's integration into any international organization with its recognized name. Despite this, the two nations were unable to arrive at any long-term solution so the UN assigned a special envoy for mediation in 2008 with the aim of ending the naming dispute. Seeking to overcome the deadlock, the two nations have continued the negotiations with the mediation of Mathew Nimetz, the UN envoy.
Bulgaria blocks the Macedonian bid for EU membership
Greece is not the only neighbor with which Macedonia has troubling relations. Its quarrel with Bulgaria dates back to centuries ago. Describing Macedonians as the 'assimilated Bulgarians', the nationalist rhetoric in Bulgaria prefers to categorize Macedonian language as a sub-dialect of Bulgarian. Some Bulgarian nationalists also claim that a number of national days and holidays in Macedonia are associated with ancient Bulgarian history. Several accusations of discrimination against ethnic Bulgarian citizens in Macedonia have been directed at the Macedonian authorities. Using their EU membership as a trump card against Macedonia, the Bulgarian government insists on signing an agreement with its neighbor as a pre-condition to Sofia's support of a Macedonian bid to join the EU.
Another cause for concern for Macedonia is their depleting relationship with Serbia.. The disagreement between Serbia and Macedonia finds its roots in a religious dispute. Over the course of history, the church that Macedonians are loyal to has changed many times. In the twentieth century they were linked to the Serbian Orthodox Church, but later the Bulgarian Orthodox Church claimed control over the Macedonian orthodox population in 1941-1945 during the Bulgarian occupation.
Today, the Serbian Orthodox Church has refused to accept the independence of the Macedonian Orthodox Church after the latter separated from the former upon Macedonia declaring its freedom.
Kuzey News AgencyLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2013, 10:56