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Greek Prime Minister Welcomes Macedonia Name-Change Vote

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Greek Prime Minister Welcomes Macedonia Name-Change Vote
The Macedonian vote could provoke further divisions among the fragile Greek coalition government.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Macedonia's recent decision to change its name will bring the country closer to joining "international organizations."

On Friday, the Macedonian Parliament took the first step toward changing the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia. The full name-change procedure requires two more rounds of voting in Parliament and could take months.

Greece has historically rejected Macedonia's name, which it argues belongs to the northern Greek region of the same name. It has subsequently blocked the country's attempts to join the EU and NATO.   

The former Yugoslav republic hopes changing its name will open the door for Macedonia to join those organizations. While Tsipras welcomed the move, other members of his own government have been less receptive. 

The leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks party that's part of Tsipras' governing coalition has threatened to break up the coalition if the Greek Parliament also approves the name change.