Danilo Gjukovikj

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After an astonishing 27 years at odds, in June, Macedonia and Greece reached a dramatic breakthrough in negotiations over what’s known as the Macedonia naming dispute. The dispute was, yes, over the former Yugoslavian nation’s name — but over much more as well, as we’ll see below. And after all that time, the June agreement solved the dispute simply: by renaming Macedonia as the “Republic of North Macedonia.”

What was at stake here — and why did resolving it take nearly three decades? Examining the long and complicated process can teach us a few practical lessons about international mediation.

A brief history of the naming dispute

In 1991, Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia and wrote into its constitution that its name was the Republic of Macedonia.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Macedonia, the Social Democrat party’s vice president, Radmila Sekerinska, has her hair violently pulled as a mob of supporters of the country’s conservative party invade parliament, in Skopje, on April 27. Police said more than 100 people were injured during the violence inside and outside parliament, which followed the election of a new parliament speaker. Sekerinska said she required three stitches after the attack. (Radio Free Europe via Associated Press)

A series of dramatic events have been unfolding in the small and historically peaceful Balkan country of Macedonia. Although these events have received much less international attention than Brexit, French elections or even the Eurovision contest, they have significant implications for the rest of Europe and should garner greater attention.

Here’s the background

Macedonia is one of the states that emerged peacefully from the former Yugoslavia, and borders Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. In 2015, Macedonia’s conservative government was accused of using the national security services to wiretap up to 20,000 people for its own political gain. To defuse the scandal, the European Union stepped in to help the four main political parties — the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, the Social Democrats, and two small ethnic Albanian parties — negotiate next steps.…  Seguir leyendo »