In the midst of an intensive campaign to secure a “yes” vote in the 30 September referendum on the Greece-FYROM naming agreement, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev stressed that the agreement meets his country’s longstanding demand for recognition of a “Macedonian language and identity”.

“We reached an agreement, but we knew that we had to ensure language and identity. Greece also acknowledged that,” Zaev said, noting that the accord recognises the existence of a “Macedonian language”.

“I understand the consternation over geographical references, but I also know the benefits of the agreement,” Zaev said.

If and when the accord is implemented, FYROM will be recognised internationally and in bilateral relations as the Republic of North Macedonia.

“We are Macedonians with a Macedonian language. The Macedonian language is rich in dialects, and for that reason it should be included among the languages of the EU,” Zaev said.

“We have a state that is recognised by the whole world, in which the language is Macedonian, and that is recognised internationally. We achieved the goal of our fathers and grandfathers,” Zaev said.

Zaev said that the referendum “is important because we must ensure our Macedonia for the centuries to come”.