Macedonian citizens who voted in the consultative referendum confirm support for EU and NATO accession and name change
Ljubljana, 1 October 2018 – According to unofficial results from the Macedonian national election commission, Macedonian voters who voted in yesterday’s consultative referendum confirmed EU and NATO accession, as well as the recent agreement reached with Greece changing the country's name to Republic of North Macedonia, with a large majority of 91.4%.
The referendum was deemed consultative, and according to recent data, the turnout was 36.8% (more than 660,000 eligible voters). An overwhelming majority of those Macedonian voters who exercised their democratic right to participate in the referendum affirmed that there is a strong desire to find a permanent solution to the name issue, which has weighed heavily on relations between Greece and Macedonia for decades, hampering Macedonian progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration. Slovenia expects the results to be taken into account in the further implementation of the agreement.
As well as resolving the long-running dispute with the neighbouring country, the implementation of the said agreement will pave the way for a Euro-Atlantic future for Macedonia. NATO accession talks have already begun, and when all the ratification procedures have been completed, Macedonia is to become the 30th full member of the Alliance.
This April, the European Commission gave a clear assessment of the conditions met thus far, and recommended that EU Member States make a decision on the beginning of Macedonian negotiations. Slovenia is firmly in favour of this proposal, believing that Macedonia fulfils all the criteria to begin negotiations. In accordance with the June European Council conclusions, we expect that a definitive decision on the beginning of talks will be adopted next June.
Slovenia is a committed advocate of Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic future, as this is of paramount importance both for the progress of the country and for the progress and stability of the entire Western Balkan region.