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Greece News Alert

Greece: Vote on Macedonia name change delayed until January 25 /update 3

Vote on Macedonia name change agreement delayed at least until January 25; associated protests reported

24 Jan 08:26 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 1/24/2019, 12:00 AM until 1/27/2019, 11:59 PM (Europe/Athens). COUNTRY/REGION Greece, Athens
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Event

On Thursday, January 24, the Greek parliament delayed a scheduled vote regarding the change of Macedonia's name until at least Friday, January 25. Greece's parliamentary speaker cited the need for further debate in the legislature before the vote could proceed. Hundreds of people gathered outside parliament to denounce the proposed deal, with clashes reported between protesters and security forces as of Thursday evening (local time). Additional demonstrations over the issue are possible, notably in the capital Athens, in the coming days. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be anticipated near the demonstrations. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Greek parliament is set to vote on the ratification of the Prespa Agreement, which, if approved, would recognize the change of Macedonia's name to the Republic of North Macedonia. The Macedonian parliament ratified the agreement in June 2018. The change is intended to end a 27-year-long dispute with Greece over the name and clear the way for Macedonia's admission to the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The name change has been controversial in both Greece and Macedonia, spurring demonstrations in both countries.

On January 20, a "Macedonia is Greece" demonstration took place in Athens to protest the name change, as tens of thousands of people rallied in the capital. Clashes were also reported as police used tear gas to disperse the crowds. 

Advice

Individuals located in Greece are advised to monitor developments to the situation and avoid all protests as a precaution.

 

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