Greece Ratifies North Macedonia's NATO Protocol

The 153-140 vote in favor of the former Yugoslav republic's NATO membership came after the country agreed previous year to change its name to North Macedonia and following ratification of the deal by the countries' parliaments.

Greece's parliament on Friday approved a measure for Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, ending a decades-old dispute watched closely by Western allies wary of Russian influence in the region.

On Wednesday, Skopje signed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accession papers in Brussels that will lead to Macedonia becoming the alliance's 30th member once the bid has been ratified by all members.

Both Greek and Macedonian parliaments have agreed to rename the country the Republic of North Macedonia, ending Athens' veto of its neighbour's efforts to join NATO and the EU.

The Republic of North Macedonia inches closer to joining NATO, but how does a country get invited? "I feel we have carried out our patriotic duty".

Many in the West hope the change will also limit the influence of Russian Federation, which has at times tried to exert influence on the soon to be North Macedonia. In ancient times it was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a source of intense pride for Greeks.

Macedonia will then write to the United Nations, its member states and global organizations, formally announcing the name change.

However, Greece raised objections to the official usage of Macedonia's name, arguing that it implies territorial aspirations against a northern Greek region with the same name. "Today we vote against the accession protocol, because it seals a national defeat at Prespes", he said.

Opponents of the historic agreement in Greece believe that the danger of irredentism is not over, as the agreement recognizes Macedonian language and identity for the citizens of the neighboring state, as Mitsotakis noted.

Greek lawmakers approved the accord that allows the neighbouring country to enter the alliance, with 153 votes in favour, and 140 against.

The NATO ratification process typically takes about a year, and the United States has said it expects North Macedonia to formally join the alliance in 2020.

  • Rogelio Becker