Reactions to Signing of name Agreement

The signing of the name deal on Sunday resulted in numerous reactions. VMRO-DPMNE organised a protest march in Bitola, where the leader, Hristijan Mickoski, said his party would not support “this disgraceful act” and support no constitutional change. “The time will come when there will be responsibility for this capitulation that they have served the country,” Mickoski pointed out. According to him, VMRO-DPMNE will oppose with all democratic and legal means. On the other hand, SDSM voiced satisfaction with the deal. “Macedonia is rising above the policies of isolation and divisiions, the identity has been guaranteed, the Macedonian future ensured. Through the agreement, Macedonia’s perspectives for EU and NATO membership are being opened. We’re ensuring the Macedonian future, stability, security, economic development and better life of all our citizens,” the party said. As it was added, the deal ensures and guarantees the Macedonian identity. “A Macedonian language, Macedonians, Macedonian, a male Macedonian, a female Macedonian, are ensured once and for all,” the party stressed, urging citizens to vote in favour of the deal in the referendum. DUI leader Ali Ahmeti welcomed the deal as well. “Congratulations to all citizens and I assure you this is the real decision for the joint future and for the best possible for all our citizens,” he said. BESA, too, welcomed the agreement and congratulated PMs Zaev and Alexis Tsipras. “Even though we, as Albanians, would perhaps make some more accurate formulations in some parts of the deal – which concern the ethnic and language identities in the country, considering this deal is a big step for NATO membership and opening the EU negotaitions, this is perhaps our compromise,” it pointed out. In Greece, New Democracy’s Giorgos Koumoutsakos fiercely criticised Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, who is part of the ruling coalition. “Starting from today, Panos Kammenos and Independent Greeks only have a past, a little present and no future,” he said on Twitter. Madalena Papadopoulou of Independent Greeks said on Facebook she was leaving the party over the deal. “The hideous agreement that arose from the criminal policies in the past shouldn’t be signed by the FM and by anybody else,” she wrote. In Bulgaria, PM Boyko Borissov said on Twitter he congratulated PMs Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev as well as FMs Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias “on the very bold and important move they undertook today.” As he added in the tweet, the agreement clears Macedonia’s way towards the EU and NATO. According to Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts President Taki Fiti, the agreement is a compromise solution, with concessions both sides had to agree to, but Macedonia has no development perspective outside the EU and NATO membership. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences President Julijan Revalski is of the opinion that the name agreement is of exceptional importance to both the future and the region’s stability. During the signing ceremony, a group of protesters within the frameworks of the announced protest to, as it had been said, defend Macedonia’s Greek character, tried to pass the police cordon and reach Psarades. They attacked the police members with woods and objects, which resulted in the police using tear gas. According to the Greek media, 80 buses carrying citizens from Thessaloniki and other cities from northern Greece had arrived near Prespa to protest. As the media added, several people were injured in the village of Pisoderi. The incidents took place in the forest part of the place, from where the protesters tried to head to the location where Zaev and Tsipras signed the deal, but the police prevented them. A protest was held outside Parliament in Skopje on Sunday, when the Rapid Deployment Unit dispersed the crowd with flashbangs and tear gas. The protest escalated when a part of the protesters were throwing stones and flares at the police and tried to break through the police cordon in order to enter Parliament, after which the Rapid Deployment Unit members dispersed the crowd with armoured vehicles, several media reported.

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