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Name game: Macedonians vote to change country’s name
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Name game: Macedonians vote to change country’s name

Moscow, Jan 11: Macedonians voted on Friday to change the country's name, following a nationwide referendum on the matter.

Debates on the new legislation started on Wednesday and continued on Thursday. The final vote was postponed several times due to the lack of 80 votes needed for the amendments to pass.

Dimitrios Papadimoulis, European Parliament's vice president, told Sputnik that he expected the Macedonian Parliament to finally approve the country's name change to the Republic of North Macedonia.

"I'm confident that the Parliament in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will pass the Prespa Agreement. It will be a major development for the history of the country and an important step for peace, stability and mutual development in the entire region", Mr Papadimoulis, who is also the head of the delegation of Greece’s ruling Syriza party to EU Parliament, said.

The lawmaker noted that Macedonia’s name change would improve Skopje's relations with Athens, as well as its relations with other Balkan states, and also strengthen prospects for securing peace and mutual development in the region.

"Also important to note that this Agreement can put an end to nationalism coming from both sides, closing the doors to all those political forces in Greece and FYROM that have damaged bilateral relations for almost three decades", Papadimoulis added.

On September 30, Macedonia held a referendum on its renaming, which followed Greek and Macedonian foreign ministers signing the renaming agreement in June.

In October, 80 out of 120 members of the country's parliament voted in favor of the name change, securing the majority required to pass the bill on amendments to the constitution. So far, lawmakers have been considering and clarifying the amendments to finally approve them at the plenary session.

The country’s new constitutional name will open the way for Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO, which has long been blocked by Athens due to the long-standing dispute over the use of the name "Macedonia," which is also the name of a region in Greece. (UNI)