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Greece concerned about exemptions in FYROM constitutional name change

The Parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will vote for four amendments of the country’s Constitution as demanded by the Prespes Agreement with Greece. According to Prespes Agreement, FYROM has to replace term “Republic of Macedonia” with “North Mecedonia.”

However, one of the amendments contains terms that have alerted Greece and specifically the President of the Hellenic Republic.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced on Friday, when the amendments were tabled, that the term ‘Macedonia” is not to be replaced with “North Macedonia” in all articles of Constitution.

Excepted from the revision is Article 36 referring to the social rights of the veterans of the Macedonia independence wars. A special notice refers to “those who were exiled or imprisoned for their Macedonian identity.”

According to some Greek media, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, has reportedly expressed concern about the unchanged article saying that it implies “Macedonian identity.”

According to kathimerini, Pavlopoulos has reportedly objected to Article 36 which retains references to a Macedonian “people and identity” and the need to protect the Macedonian “people” living outside the country.

Pavlopoulos has insisted that FYROM must make a written commitment that the name deal signed in June does not recognize a Macedonian nation but rather a citizenship.

Speaking to media,  diplomatic sources in Athens said the article 36 is not of concern for Greece because it has historical dimensions of anti-fascist struggle.

“There is confusion with article 49 [of FYROM constitution] which is to be revised as it contains irredentist references,” the sources said adding that the media reports were not giving a true picture.

Pavlopoulos’ reservations were also rpeorted by state broadcaster ERT TV Saturday noon.

The four amendments will be discussed at first round by a parliamentary committee, starting on November 7.

According to FYROM parliamentary rules, discussion on each amendment must take no more than three days.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has called a plenary session for December 1 for their voting.

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