The tiny Balkan country has moved a step closer to the 30th member of the military alliance. Its membership had been blocked by neighboring Greece due to a name dispute.
Macedonian parliament members unanimously ratified an agreement on Tuesday to make their country a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). All 114 lawmakers present in parliament with 120 seats voted in favor, without voting against or abstaining.
“By joining this alliance, we are not simply joining an international organization,” Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski told legislators before the vote.
During the brief ceremony, a NATO flag was raised in front of the parliament building. North Macedonia’s entry into the world’s most powerful military alliance had been blocked by Greece for a decade over a name dispute.
Athens dropped its opposition after the former Yugoslav Republic agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. The country was previously known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Macedonia for short. In return for the country’s renaming to North Macedonia, Greece agreed to drop its objection to its neighbor’s accession to NATO and the EU.