Macedonian citizens reject any change to name

The number of Macedonian citizens that reject any alternation of their country's name has been growing, shows the public survey 'The Dispute over Macedonia's Name'.

The survey was discussed Thursday at a debate, which also addressed Macedonia's relations with its neighbours.

Most of the respondents (63%) are against any change to the name, while 71% reject any geographic determinant. The identity is vital matter of the dispute and main obstacle to its settlement for over half of the respondents (54%) is Greece’s rejection to acknowledge the existence of Macedonia. A total of 33% believe that Athens will demand new concessions in regard to the identity and language in case of settling the dispute.

In spite of the citizens' wish for prompt settling of the dispute, their optimism in this respect has been declining. Thirty percent of the respondents are certain that dispute will remain unsettled for good. Asked about future moves, 31.8% of the respondents say the Prime Ministers of both countries should be engaged in the negotiating process, 30.6% call for an inclusion of a third party, namely US (30%); EU (22%); UN (16.1%) and Germany (8.1%).

Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki and his former colleague and now MP Antonio Milososki consider that the decline of citizens’ optimism is a result of the failed expectations for resolving the name dispute.

The whole European idea is based on human rights, including the right of self-determination, which is seriously violated in the case of Macedonia, Poposki told the debate.

"How we act, respect these rights should not depend on whether one is or not an EU member," he said.

The survey was conducted by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation and  Institute for Democracy 'Societas Civilis' Skopje on 15 November-1 December 2013 on representative sample of 1.000 respondents.  

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