Tuesday, 29 January 2019

What's next in the Greece-North Macedonia agreement

The Greek parliament on January 25 ratified the Prespes Agreement with 153 votes in the 300-seat chamber, whereby it recognises its northern neighbour as North Macedonia. 

Over the next two weeks: Once the Prespes Agreement is published in the Greek government gazette and NATO informed that it is law, NATO will invite member states to accept North Macedonia as a member. Once Greece ratifies the NATO Accession Protocol, North Macedonia will inform the United Nations and other international bodies that the Prespes Agreement is in force.

In the weeks following: Greece is also expected to notify the EU that it supports accession talks with North Macedonia. The two countries will upgrade their liaison offices to full embassies.

Within six months: North Macedonia will convene a committee to review its monuments and public buildings and how they "refer in any way to ancient Hellenic history and civilisation," and take appropriate "corrective action". (8.2).

Some substantive changes may take longer. Trade and education are the most prickly areas. The two countries have set up a joint committee of trade experts this year to discuss trademarks and brand names containing the term Macedonia or Macedonian. The committee must conclude an agreement within three years on mutually acceptable uses of such names. (1.3.h)

A Joint Inter-Disciplinary Committee of Experts on historic, archaeological and educational matters formed last year will revise school textbooks, maps and teaching guides to remove "irredentist /revisionist references" to ancient Macedonia or other Greek heritage, and in the process is redesign the next North Macedonian generation's identity. (8.5).

The two parties are also supposed to establish an Action Plan of cooperation on a range of issues like transport, civil protection, agriculture, energy, the environment, infrastructure, investments and defence. They are to establish a High Level Cooperation Council to oversee that plan. (14).

Within five years: North Macedonia is to rename all its public bodies, adjust its internal official documents and replace all  passports currently in circulation. (1.10)

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