“Although my grandfather, Josip Broz Tito, ‘gave’ the name ‘Macedonia’ to one of the six constituent republics of Yugoslavia, it is obvious that this act did not aim to create irredentist claims with its neighbours, with which Yugoslavia developed friendly relations and fruitful cooperation”.
With this statement, Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of the historic leader of Yugoslavia, took a stance on the issue that has created animosity between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Now that a new round of negotiations between the two countries have been undertaken by the United Nations, in a climate of optimism, following the change of leadership in FYROM, which abandoned the nationalistic hard-line favoured by Nikola Gruevski, Svetlana Broz’s statement weighs in significantly on the matter.
“The term ‘Macedonia’ has always been used for a wider geographical area, approximately 51% of which is part of Greece, 38% of which is in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and 9% of which is in Bulgaria”, she said, making reference to the history of Alexander the Great and the kingdom of Macedonia as being part of the Hellenic history and stating that anyone objecting this, should enter an academic debate, not a political one.
“It would be absurd, therefore, on Skopje’s part, to insist on using the term ‘Macedonia’ on an exclusive basis. I would therefore like the leadership in Skopje to do their best to find a solution”, she added.
FYROM’s new government, led by the moderate Zoran Zaev has made steps to approach Greece and rebuild severed ties.