1 October 2018
Commenting in the aftermath of the referendum in Macedonia, European Green Party co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said:
"After the national referendum in Macedonia, the country´s way towards NATO membership and EU accession negotiations remains very difficult. But one result cannot be disputed: It is impossible to read a rejection of the Prespa agreement into the referendum result.
"Even if all the voters that participated in the parliamentary election in 2016 but stayed home yesterday had voted ‘no’, the overall result would still have been positive.
"The Macedonian opposition chose to boycott because it was afraid it would lose a fair and open contest. Russian meddling in Macedonian affairs supported them in that approach.
"But the result does not allow them to dispute the fundamental truth about the Macedonian people´s will. There is no majority in the country to oppose the way forward which the government devised.
"The responsibility for the next steps will now return to the Macedonian Parliament. Europe must keep its arms open to welcome the Macedonian nation."
Background: Macedonians have been called to vote in a referendum aimed at helping ease tensions with its neighbour Greece and potentially put it on a course to join the European Union and NATO. As part of the deal brokered between the two countries, Macedonia would change its name to ‘North Macedonia’ from the current awkward-sounding Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM for short. Greece has always blocked Macedonia’s path to further integration since it declared independence under the name of 'The Republic of Macedonia' following the break-up of Yugoslavia. Greece also has a region called Macedonia and feels this could cause FYROM to make claims on its territory.
M +32 475946981
T +32 26260726
European Green Party
Rue Wiertz 31, 1050 Brussels, Belgium