EU Discord Roils the Balkans

The bloc pulled the rug out from under the governments in Greece, Macedonia and Albania.

|June 27, 2018

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The announcement of the end of the 27-year Greece-Macedonia name spat appears to have been premature. Domestic opposition to the deal has been pronounced in both countries, but the governments pushed forward because the possibility of Macedonia joining the EU and NATO – processes held up by the name dispute – was considered worth the price of compromise. Everything seemed to be going fine until Tuesday, when the EU General Affairs Council decided it would delay a decision on EU accession for Macedonia – as well as its neighbor Albania – until June 2019 at the earliest. (Albania’s own accession process has gotten wrapped up in the name issue as a result of Albania’s proximity to Macedonia and the fact that a quarter of Macedonia’s population is ethnically Albanian.)

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The news was a major letdown for all the governments involved and a serious blow to the viability of the Greece-Macedonia compromise, which stipulated that Maced

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