The small Balkan country of Macedonia has officially changed its name into North Macedonia, announced through a government press release on Tuesday, February 12.
The young country now is called the Republic of North Macedonia by adding a geographic location that finalizes a decade-old dispute with Greece and secures its entry into NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Changes made following the renaming of the said country – ranging from new road signs to updated passports and currency, according to a statement from the press release.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country would do necessary actions with all the adjustments needed to fulfill its end of the historical deal he made with the prime minister of Greece last year. “At the end of the day we must show that we are implementing our part of the obligation,” the PM said. “I believe that all institutions are ready to act.” he later added during the press release.
The recent renaming resolves a dispute with Greece way back on 1991 when Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia. Athens had disagreed with the country’s decision and claimed ownership to the small landlocked neighbor (Balkan) located on the Northern part of Greece, where people gradually adapted to the ancient Greek cultural heritage or custom. The disagreement came to an end last summer when Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made remarkable decisions which includes allowing Macedonia to join NATO and European Union. Despite many oppositions on either side of the border, the deal ratified by both parliaments.
However, the United Nations and other international bodies used the former “Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in addressing the country, although more than 130 countries formally acknowledged the land as Macedonia.
So far, the government told the local TV that the authorities would change road signs at border crossings, airports and customs checkpoints within three days. And for four months, the Interior Ministry will start issuing new car license plates with the acronym NMK, while new passports will be release at the end of the year, according to North Macedonia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Zernovski.
Other plans will be giving the U.N and its members a formal notice of the name change. The country will also post an information slip to airports’ boards, and its central bank will now draft plans for replacing the old currency with the new one.
Earlier on Tuesday, an update from NATO showed Macedonia raising a NATO flag at its main government building – a sign that the country has achieved a “historical goal” in being accepted while making the country its 30th member.
Meanwhile, Nikola Dimitrov, Foreign Minister said on his Twitter account that the move would surely build a long friendship between Greece and North Macedonia. He also hoped for a lasting partnership as well as fidelity between the two in the future.