Road signs replaced to reflect North Macedonia name change
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — It's official: The Republic of North Macedonia has replaced Republic of Macedonia as part of a historic deal with Greece.
The government gazette formally published the name deal Wednesday, opening the way for the renamed country's accession to NATO and eventually the European Union. The United Nations announced late Wednesday that it had been officially notified that the North Macedonia name agreement with Greece had gone into effect.
The Latest: UN officially notified of North Macedonia change
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — The latest on the change of name that has created North Macedonia (all times local):
The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has received official notification that an agreement has taken effect giving the new name Republic of North Macedonia to the former Republic of Macedonia, which at the United Nations was called "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Bus plunges into ravine in North Macedonia, killing 14
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — A bus carrying workers in North Macedonia crashed into a ravine outside the capital of Skopje Wednesday, killing 14 people and injuring about 30, officials said.
Venko Filipce, the newly renamed European nation's health minister, said seven people were pronounced dead at the scene and the rest died after being taken to a hospital. Six of those injured had life-threatening conditions.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev declared two days of national mourning.
Call me by my new name: Balkan nation is North Macedonia now
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Enter North Macedonia.
The small Balkan country of Macedonia officially changed its name Tuesday by adding a geographic designation that ends a decades-old dispute with neighboring Greece and secures its entry into NATO.
Macedonia raises NATO flag ahead of name change
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia has raised a NATO flag at its main government building, as members of the alliance continued to ratify the country's accession agreement.
Prime minister Zoran Zaev, speaking at a ceremony in the capital Skopje Tuesday, said Macedonia had achieved a "historic goal" in being accepted into NATO under its new name, North Macedonia. The country is expected to formally adopt the name later this week.
Macedonia prepares for name change by removing signs
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian authorities began Monday removing official signs from government buildings to prepare for the country's new name: North Macedonia.
"Government of the Republic of Macedonia" signs were removed from the country's main government building in the capital Skopje. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is scheduled to speak at ceremony Tuesday at the site, where organizers said the NATO flag is due to be raised.
Macedonia: 6 wrongly convicted to receive hefty compensation
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's government will reportedly pay a total of 1.2 million euros ($1.36 million) in compensation to six people wrongly convicted on terrorism-related charges.
Local TV station Sitel is reporting the compensation includes 5,500 Macedonian denars ($101.40) for each day they spent in prison, plus trial costs.
Greece backs Macedonia’s NATO accession, settles dispute
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's parliament on Friday approved a measure for Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute watched closely by Western allies wary of Russian influence in the region.
Lawmakers voted 153-140 to back the NATO protocol that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.
The Latest: Greece backs Macedonia’s NATO accession
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Greece-Macedonia relations (all times local):
Greece's parliament has approved a measure for Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute.
Lawmakers late Friday voted 153-140 to back the NATO protocol that must now also be approved by all other alliance members.
Macedonia presidential election scheduled for April 21
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's parliament speaker has signed a decree declaring a presidential election will be held on April 21.
President Gjorge Ivanov is serving his second and final five-year term which ends on May 12. The next president will be the head of state of the newly renamed North Macedonia, after an agreement with Greece that ends a 27-year dispute over the country's name.
Greek lawmakers to vote on Macedonia name deal’s last hurdle
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek parliament committee is debating whether to sign off on Macedonia joining NATO, the final hurdle to be cleared before its northern neighbor can formally be renamed North Macedonia.
The committee debate on Thursday began a process that is set to lead to a vote in parliament on Friday night. Lawmakers are expected to approve Macedonia's accession.
Macedonia removes government complex’s protective railings
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Workers are removing ornate metal railings protecting the Macedonian government building complex in Skopje, under the new administration's drive to boost openness and reconciliation.
The dismantling that started Thursday had been a campaign promise by the left-led government, which took over in 2016 after a decade of conservative rule.
Macedonia: No evidence fugitive ex-PM had help to flee
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian prosecutors investigating how a former prime minister convicted of corruption managed to flee to Hungary before he could be imprisoned to serve a two-year sentence say they have found no evidence he received help from any officials.
Macedonia takes big NATO membership step as key text signed
BRUSSELS (AP) — The small Balkan country of Macedonia took a big step Wednesday toward becoming the 30th member of NATO, the world's biggest military alliance.
Greece to ratify Macedonia’s NATO membership this week
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is set to ratify Macedonia's accession agreement with NATO this week after the two countries reached a historic agreement to normalize relations.
The alliance's 29 members plan Wednesday to sign Macedonia's accession protocol, which must then be ratified by each country individually before taking effect.
In Athens, Greek parliamentary Speaker Nikos Voutsis said a ratification bill would be submitted Thursday and voted on Friday.
Macedonia’s leader hopes EU membership talks start in June
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Macedonia's prime minister says he hopes his country can launch membership talks with the European Union in June now that an agreement to end a dispute with Greece has been ratified.
Zoran Zaev negotiated a deal with his Greek counterpart last year that called for Macedonia to be renamed North Macedonia in return for Greece lifting objections to its neighbor joining NATO and the EU.
Macedonia’s fugitive ex-PM claims he feared for his life
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who dominated politics in his country for a decade and is now a fugitive from justice, says he fled to Hungary fearing for his life.
Gruevski, 48, turned up at the Hungarian embassy in Tirana, Albania, last November, requesting asylum hours before he was due to begin serving a 2-year jail sentence for corruption.
NATO to sign Macedonia accession protocol next week
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia will sign an accession protocol with NATO on Wednesday under its new name North Macedonia after parliaments in the tiny Balkan country and its southern neighbor Greece ratified a historic name change deal.
Macedonia: 4 former top officials under investigation
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's organized crime and corruption prosecutor has requested three former agriculture ministers and a deputy minister be jailed while they are investigated for abuse of power over the lease of farmland.
Greece to ratify Macedonia’s NATO accession in ‘coming days’
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece will bring Macedonia's NATO accession agreement to parliament for ratification "in the coming days," the government spokesman said Thursday, which will bring into effect the change of the country's name to North Macedonia.
Macedonia’s fugitive ex-prime minister to lose pay, benefits
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled to Hungary to avoid serving a two-year sentence over a corruption scandal, will no longer receive his lawmaker's salary.
A legislative amendment approved in parliament Wednesday stipulates that lawmakers lose their right to a salary and other benefits, such as travel expenses, if they are sentenced to more than six months in jail.
Macedonia parliament rejects request for 2nd name referendum
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's parliament has rejected a diaspora group's request for a second referendum on a deal to rename the country North Macedonia in exchange for NATO and potentially European Union membership.
Lawmakers voted 49-9 on Wednesday against the request from the World Macedonian Congress. The 120-seat parliament's remaining lawmakers were absent.
Cyprus president praises Greek premier for Macedonia deal
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' president has praised Greece's prime minister for his "daring and determination" in ending what he called a "needless" clash with Macedonia over its name.
Nicos Anastasiades said Wednesday after talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that the end of the nearly 30-year dispute bolsters regional peace and security and paves the way for closer economic cooperation with Macedonia.
EU official urges Macedonian leaders to focus on reforms
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — A European Union official is urging leaders in Macedonia to focus on reforms necessary for the country to join the bloc, after Greece ratified a deal ending a nearly three-decade long dispute over use of the name "Macedonia."
European Union presidency to back Macedonia accession talks
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The European Union presidency says it will back Macedonia to open accession talks after it reached a deal to change its name.
Romanian European Affairs Minister George Ciamba said Monday he wanted negotiations to start for Macedonia in June at a meeting of EU ministers.
Romania, which currently holds the bloc's rotating presidency, also supports Albania opening accession talks.
Macedonia’s name change - what does the country have to do?
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia is changing its name to North Macedonia in return for Greece dropping its objections to its northern neighbor joining NATO to settle a nearly three-decade dispute. But what does a country have to do, practically, when it changes its name?
Greek president, jeered by name deal foes, denounces Nazism
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — About 250 nationalist protesters gathered in Greece's second-largest city Sunday to denounce the ratification of a deal to normalize relations with neighboring Macedonia, jeering at "traitor politicians" as some public officials left a concert hall after an International Holocaust Remembrance Day performance.
The Latest: UN’s 20-year envoy on name dispute cheers vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on ratification of an agreement to resolve the place name dispute between Greece and Macedonia (all times local):
The man who spent 20 years as the U.N.'s mediator in a name dispute between Greece and Macedonia says the Greek parliament's ratification of a reconciliation agreement "ushers in a new era for the consolidation of peace and security in the Balkans."
Greek lawmakers ratify Macedonia name-change deal
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers ratified an agreement Friday to end a nearly three decade-long dispute over neighboring Macedonia's name, in a landmark vote that will see the small country renamed North Macedonia and clear its path to NATO membership.
Thousands protest as Greek lawmakers debate Macedonia deal
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Thousands demonstrated in Greece's main cities and along the country's northern border Thursday against a deal to normalize relations with neighboring Macedonia, a day before lawmakers were expected to approve the agreement that would end a 27-year dispute over a historic name.
The Latest: Rioters taunt Greek police at Macedonia protest
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the place name dispute between Greece and Macedonia (all times local):
Greek riot police have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a group that tried to break a cordon outside parliament during an Athens protest of the government's moves to normalize relations with neighboring Macedonia.
Greek lawmakers debate Macedonia name deal ahead of vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers began debating a historic agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Macedonia in a stormy parliamentary session Wednesday.
After violence, Greek parliament debates deal with Macedonia
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's parliament on Monday started debating a historic agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Macedonia, a day after violent demonstrations against the deal erupted in Athens.
The agreement would see Macedonia change its name to North Macedonia, while in exchange Greece would lift its objections to its northern neighbor joining NATO and, potentially, the European Union.
Greek protesters angry over Macedonia deal clash with police
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Protesters clashed with police outside Greece's parliament during a rally that drew tens of thousands of people Sunday against the Greek-Macedonia name deal. At least 25 police officers were injured and seven people arrested, police said.
Macedonia extends school break because of air pollution
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's government has ordered the winter break for students to be extended to Jan. 23 because of extremely high levels of toxic particles in the air in many cities throughout the country.
The government said in a statement Sunday that the measure is to "shorten the time of exposure of students to air pollution and to protect their health."
Macedonia seeks help in catching safe deposit box thefts
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian authorities are seeking cross-border help to gather evidence on a 1.7-million euro ($1.9 million) theft from bank safe deposit boxes by an international gang in 2017.
Macedonia's prosecution office says four Ukrainians and three people from the U.S., Kazakhstan and Moldova are suspected in the heist.
The theft was discovered after two clients of two banks in Skopje reported that their safe deposit boxes had been emptied of jewelry, cash and other valuables.
Greece prepares massive print run on deal with Macedonia
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's government is to print tens of thousands of copies of an agreement to normalize relations with Macedonia, to inform the public ahead of a parliamentary debate on ratifying the deal.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' office said Thursday the document will be distributed with Sunday newspapers so that "every last Greek" can read up on the agreement.
Greek PM survives confidence vote after coalition collapse
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's left-wing prime minister narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament late Wednesday days after the governing coalition he leads collapsed over an agreement to end a long-running dispute over neighboring Macedonia's name.
The Latest: Greek PM Tsipras survives confidence vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the confidence vote in Greece (all times local):
Greece's left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament days after the governing coalition collapsed.
Tsipras received the minimum 151 votes in Greece's 300-seat legislature for his government to survive. His term ends in October.
Greek PM defends Macedonia deal ahead of confidence vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister on Tuesday defended his deal to normalize relations with neighboring Macedonia ahead of a confidence vote in parliament after his governing coalition collapsed over the agreement.
Alexis Tsipras said he chose to end the 27-year dispute over Macedonia's name, seizing "a great opportunity" despite the potential political cost to his government.
Albanian designated Macedonia’s 2nd official language
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Albanian has been designated the second official language in Macedonia, which has a substantial, and restive, ethnic Albanian minority.
The move ends a months-long standoff between the left-led government and Macedonia's conservative President Gjorge Ivanov, who had refused to sign off on the law saying it was unconstitutional and unnecessary.
The law was published in the government gazette Tuesday after being signed by parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi.
Macedonian lawmakers weigh request for new name referendum
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's parliament is weighing a diaspora group's request for a new referendum on the deal to change the country's name to North Macedonia in return for NATO, and potentially European Union, membership.
Greek govt faces confidence vote after coalition collapses
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's parliament has scheduled a confidence vote for late Wednesday following the collapse of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' governing coalition over a proposed deal to end a decades-old dispute with Macedonia.
The nationalist Independent Greeks party ended its four-year partnership with Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party on Sunday. The government now needs the backing of six lawmakers from opposition parties or independents to avoid a snap election.
The Latest: US backs place in NATO, EU for renamed Macedonia
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the deal between Greece and Macedonia to end a long dispute over the Macedonia name (all times local):
The United States has expressed support for Macedonia joining NATO and the European Union once a deal renaming the country North Macedonia goes into effect.
Greek PM Tsipras faces confidence vote after minister quits
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Sunday he will ask for a vote of confidence in Parliament this week after the country's defense minister, who leads the coalition government's junior party, resigned over the Macedonia name deal.
Panos Kammenos announced his resignation and said his right-wing Independent Greeks party is quitting the government after meeting with Tsipras on Sunday morning.
Macedonian PM: Greece’s turn to make history with name deal
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's prime minister says he expects Greece's parliament to do its part and ratify the deal changing his country's name to North Macedonia so it can soon join NATO.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told reporters in the capital of Skopje on Saturday that he expects neighboring Greece to be the first country to sign the accession protocol for Macedonia to become NATO's 30th member.
Macedonia approves deal to rename itself North Macedonia
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia late Friday fulfilled its part of a historic deal that will pave its way to NATO membership and normalize relations with neighboring Greece, after lawmakers approved constitutional changes to rename the country North Macedonia.
The Latest: NATO, EU support Macedonia’s vote to change name
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — The Latest on Macedonia's change of name (all times local):
The chief of NATO and the European Union's foreign policy chief have congratulated Macedonia for approving constitutional changes to rename itself North Macedonia under a deal with Greece.
NATO head Jens Stoltenberg says NATO strongly supports the full implementation of the agreement, under which Greece will drop its objections to Macedonia joining the military alliance and the EU.