What is so controversial about the Republic of Macedonia?

People get uppity if you refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as Macedonia. The region of Macedonia used to include a big swathe of south eastern Europe including FYRM, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo and of course a large area of Northern Greece.

In an exercise in tediousness, Greece won’t let them be called the same name as that region and it has to refer to itself as a Republic. FYRM still has the Macedonian denar when they want to Euro, as membership depends on sorting out the naming issue.



The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this statement on their website:

‘The name issue is thus a problem with regional and international dimensions, consisting in the promotion of irredentist and territorial ambitions on the part of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, mainly through the counterfeiting of history and usurpation of Greece’s national, historical and cultural heritage.’

Close Up Flag - Macedonia

But that isn’t the only venture into nonsense between the two countries. Oh no. There was also an argument over a flag. After independence, FYRM had a yellow sun symbol based on tombstone markings in Vergina, a town in Greek Macedonia.

Greece argued ownership of the symbol (a symbol based on something that exists in the sky for everyone in the world, every single day) blocked trade and told the NY UN to take it down. FYRM changed it to the altered sun symbol that you see today.

Bronze statue of Alexander the Great
Bronze statue of Alexander the Great on a rearing horse holding a sword high up in Skopje city main square.

There is one more bone of contention which is that FYRM claim Alexander the Great, and have a massive statue which is thought to be him which cost them 9.5 million euros. Greece claim he is theirs.

Whether it is true or not I hope that both countries concentrate on their own problems, which are so huge without having drama with a neighbour.

In the light of all the things that are going on the world today, these issues pale in compared to real conflict, persecution and political unrest around the globe.



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