According to a poll by the University of Macedonia and the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), six in ten Greeks oppose using the work Macedonia in a composite name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The poll was carried out with the help of Columbia University’s Human Rights Institute, and revealed that only around 28 percent of those Greeks who participated in the survey would be willing to support the word Macedonia being used by FYROM.
Also, the survey revealed that a vast majority of Greeks believe that the name dispute between Greece and FYROM should be resolved sooner rather than later with eight in ten participants saying that the time has come to put this issue to rest.
Why it Matters to Greeks
The concerns of FYROM (formerly a federal unit of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) using the word Macedonia in their name stems from many different aspects of historical, cultural and territorial issues.
One concern is with using the word Macedonia to define FYROM when it is adjacent to the Greek Region of Macedonia.
Something to take note of is that people from FYROM refer to themselves as “Macedonians” and speak “Macedonian” even though millions of ethnic Greeks identify themselves as Macedonians from the Region of Macedonia in Greece.
In addition, FYROM has incorporated and appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered part of Greek culture into their own country’s identification, such as the Vergina Sun and Alexander the Great.
Also FYROM has been accused of promoting the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia with territorial claims on parts of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Serbia.