Statue of Alexander the great in Thessaloniki

Press release: “Macedonia after the Prespes agreement”

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on 12 June 2018 that an agreement had been reached with his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev on the dispute, “which covers all the preconditions set by the Greek side”.[5] The agreement was signed at Lake Prespa, a body of water which forms a partial common border between the Republic of North Macedonia, Greece and Albania.

The proposal would result in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia being renamed the Republic of North Macedonia (Република Северна Македонија / Republika Severna Makedonija / Δημοκρατία της Βόρειας Μακεδονίας[6]), with the new name being used for all purposes (erga omnes), that is, domestically, in all bilateral relations and in all regional and international organizations and institutions.[7][8]

The deal includes recognition of the Macedonian language in the United Nations, noting that it is within the group of South Slavic languages, and that the citizenship of the country will be called Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia. Also, there is an explicit clarification that the citizens of the country are not related to ancient Hellenic civilization that previously inhabited the northern regions of Greece.[9][10] Specifically, Article 7 mentions that both countries acknowledge that their respective understanding of the terms “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” refers to a different historical context and cultural heritage.[7] When reference is made to Greece, these terms denote the area and people of its northern region, as well as the Hellenic civilization, history and culture of that region. When reference is made to Republic of Macedonia, these terms denote its territory, language and people, with their own, distinctly different, history and culture.[7]

Additionally, the agreement stipulates the removal of the Vergina Sun from public use in the Republic of North Macedonia and the formation of a committee for the review of school textbooks and maps in both countries for the removal of irredentist content and to align them with UNESCO and Council of Europe standards.[11] These changes were put to a referendum for citizens of the Republic of Macedonia in the autumn of 2018.