Macedonia seems to be heading towards a compromise in the longstanding dispute with Greece over its official name. Within the next few weeks we will probably have a solution in this conflict, which is mediated by the United Nations.
An absurd end to an absurd conflict over an absurd issue. A conflict, born out of sheer misjudgement of the situation and populist impulses, in which both sides committed all the mistakes one can possibly think of, finally ending in a long-lasting deadlock. It is the prospect of imminent NATO membership for Macedonia that has brought dynamics into the process and has strengthened Greece’s position to an extent that it is about to score a relative diplomatic victory.
So what is the expected outcome? A dual formula, of course. The Yin-Yang of diplomacy. The eternal solution when there is none… In its internal dealings and in bilateral relations except with Greece, Macedonia will use its constitutional name – Republic of Macedonia. In its bilateral relations with Greece and in communication with multilateral organisations, a compromise name will be agreed upon. The hottest candidates for this are: “Democratic Republic of Macedonia” and the “Independent Republic of Macedonia”.
Why would it be a diplomatic victory for Greece? Because “their” version of the name would be used in interational organisations like the NATO, EU, OSCE, Council of Europe. Oh, and I almost forgot the UN. Of course, the fact that the M-word would remain in use can be booked as a success for the Macedonians.
There is one group of people however, who will be extremely happy about an end to this drama – reporting officers in international organisations. You cannot imagine the degree of linguistic bending needed on the international floor, when FYRoM is unsurprisingly unacceptable to the Macedonians and the use of the M-word would always and in any context, however irrelevant it may be, draw furious Greek reactions upon the user.
A small portion of semantic suspense remains as to which of the proposed attributes of their country the Macedonians will opt for in the referendum, which is likely to be held – democratic or independent?