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North Macedonian state-owned institutions change names after dealing with Greece

Workers with the new country name on the sign board, at the border crossing Bogorodica between North Macedonia and Greece. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE Skopje, Macedonia (FYROM) Mar 06, 2019, 04.08 PM (IST)

Some 136 state institutions and public-owned companies in the Republic of North Macedonia would from Wednesday begin the process of changing their names in compliance with an agreement penned with neighbouring Greece to end a decades-long dispute over the country's official name, the government has said.

The institutions and companies concerned must, in the space of one week, change all official logos, stamps, and memorandums to reflect the name of the country that was formerly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia but has now become the Republic of North Macedonia.

All major institutions related to the government, parliament and national bank will have to bear the country's new name within the next four months, and in most cases, the adjective "Macedonian" will be replaced by "national."

Macedonian Television (MTV) will become National Television (NTV), Macedonian Railways will be renamed to Railways of the Republic of North Macedonia, while the Macedonian Opera and Ballet will become the National Opera and Ballet.

The Macedonian Philharmonic, Macedonian Forests and Macedonian Post will undergo similar changes, while the state-owned news agency MIA (Macedonian Information Agency) will become NIA (National Information Agency).

The adjective "Macedonian" will remain in the cases of the Institute for Macedonian Literature and the Macedonian National Theater, although the government did not give a reason for that decision.

The Balkan nation's new name came into effect last month, with Macedonian authorities symbolically placing the first sign at the main border crossing with Greece bearing the name.

The new name would be used domestically and internationally, although the internal renaming across all sectors was expected to go on for years.

Skopje and Athens signed the so-called Prespa Agreement on the shores of bordering Lake Prespa in June 2018 in a bid to end an almost 30-year-long dispute over Macedonia's official name.

The agreement stipulated that Skopje accepted the new name and would not seek to make any claims toward the heritage of the historically-important northern Greek region of Macedonia.

Greece agreed that the adjective "Macedonian" could be used to describe the language spoken by the ethnic Macedonian majority in northern Macedonia, as well as for citizenship, along with "of North Macedonia."

The development has paved the way for North Macedonia's accession to NATO, and the country was also expected to be able to join the European Union. Greece had previously vetoed the country's accession to both organizations.

The name issue emerged soon after North Macedonia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia back in 1991.

North Macedonia was only admitted to the United Nations in 1993 under the now-defunct name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, following Greek objections.
 

Story highlights

The institutions and companies concerned must, in the space of one week, change all official logos, stamps, and memorandums to reflect the name of the country that was formerly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia but has now become the Republic of North Macedonia.