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Fragile Balkans’ future depends on Macedonia deal

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by way of Tony Barber

Monetary Occasions
Would possibly 7, 2018

If the definition of growth is nation now not names its capital’s airport after a warrior king who died 2,300 years in the past in Babylon, then there may be undoubtedly hope for the Balkans — the supply of many a contemporary Eu war. In February, Macedonia’s reformist management reversed the former govt’s bombastic nationalism and adjusted the title of Alexander the Nice airport to Skopje World. The ice started to soften in one among post-Communist Europe’s maximum vexed disputes.

At the freeway into Skopje, capital of the previous Yugoslav republic, huge inexperienced indicators inform of extra exchange. The street now not bears Alexander’s title however is named Friendship Freeway. Macedonian leaders believe those relabelling workout routines to be now not beauty however authentic concessions to Greece. For 27 years, Athens has accused its northern neighbour of laying declare to Greece’s territory, cultural heritage and identification by way of the use of Macedonia as a reputation and Alexander as a state image.

Negotiations aimed toward discovering a compromise on Macedonia’s title are coming near a climax. The international ministers of Greece and Macedonia have met 20 occasions. Must a deal be struck, it could ship an extraordinary sign to different quarrelling Balkan states and communities — Serbia and Kosovo, for instance, or the Muslims, Croats and Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina — that even essentially the most painful historic wounds heal with remedy.

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