NATO leaders have formally invited Macedonia to become the 30th member of the military alliance, according to communique from the Jul 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels. The leaders cited a decision from 2008 to invite Macedonia to join NATO. We note that the decision was then vetoed by Greece due to the long-standing name dispute with Macedonia. The NATO leaders stressed that Macedonia and Greece should complete the process of resolving the name dispute before Macedonia could join NATO. The recently signed agreement with Greece on resolving the dispute should be approved by a nationwide referendum in the autumn. It has been already approved by the MPs.
The agreement with Greece paved the way for Macedonia’s NATO and EU membership, which has been hampered mainly by the long-standing name dispute. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed the Macedonia could enter NATO only under its new proposed official name, Republic of Northern Macedonia. We note that the proposed name change was vetoed by President Gjorge Ivanov but the MPs overturned the veto by approving the agreement for a second time. Still, Ivanov does not have a deadline to ratify the deal, although he must do so, according to the constitution.