The FYROM naming issue has divided Greek society and political parties for 25 years.
Today, after so many failed efforts to find a socially acceptable and nationally beneficial solution, one can discern for the first time perhaps that at last on the other side the preconditions exist to transcend the impasse.
The basis of the negotiation is the national line that has been forged a number of years ago by political forces, and it provides for a composite name with a geographic marker, for all uses, domestically and internationally – erga omnes.
There is a common denominator, which is that the name of the neighbouring country will include the name Macedonia, just as it is included in the interim name – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – which we have accepted.
Every citizen is entitled to his or her opinion and objections. Yet one is not entitled to stir up a patriotic frenzy and create a climate of suspicion, or to accuse those who agree with a composite name of having less of a national conscience.
The demonstrations that are being organised in the coming days cannot supplant the official position of the state.
Whether we like it or not, no negotiation, especially on major issues, can be conducted with shrieks, slogans, or divisive salvos. A substantial sector of society may feel humiliated by all they have endured during the years of the crisis, but they will not be vindicated with super-nationalistic explosions, which in fact ignore the country’s geopolitical interests.
This is especially true when on the other side there are forces which are fueled by super-nationalist ideals.
Obviously, the broader political climate does not help in forging a necessary consensus. This is primarily due to the government, which in the first phase of negotiations attempted to exploit the issue politically, and in a polarising manner.
Today, true patriotism cannot be exhausted with demonstrations. It is obliged to take into account and understand international balances and the long-term interests of the country.
Let everyone understand, therefore, that if this opportunity is lost due to our own fault, the composite name will also be a thing of the past. We shall be left with the “glories” of the demonstrations, but we will have suffered yet another national defeat.