The plenary of the Greek Parliament ratified the “Ratification of the Protocol of the North Atlantic Treaty for the Accession of North Macedonia” with a majority of 153 votes late on Friday. Opposition parties down voted the bill with 140 votes, one lawmaker voted “present.”
During the roll-call voting procedure, all 145 SYRIZA MPs and another eight independent deputies voted in favor. Five out of six absent deputies voted against the draft bill by absentee ballot. Main opposition party, conservative New Democracy voted against although its partner EPP in the European Parliament favors the accession of “North macedonia” both to NATO and the European Union.
“I would like to again welcome North Macedonia, a country that is friendly toward Greece, a country that must be a supporter — and not an opponent — of our efforts to establish safety, stability, and cooperation in the wider region,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras.
With the ratification, Greece ended the 26-year-long name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, out of fear it would threaten its own region of Macedonia.
The ratification process will admit FYROM to NATO under its new name “Republic of North Macedonia” once all of the North Atlantic alliance’s members approve similar protocols.
“It is a matter of days we formally change our country’s name into “Republic of North Macedonia,” FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said on Wednesday, during a ceremony in Brussels, in which he signed the Accession Protocol together with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.