Jun 17, 2018

Macedonia signs historic agreement with Greece to change its name

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (back R) and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev (back L) during the signing ceremony on Sunday. Photo by Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Sunday signed a landmark pact to change the country's name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia in a move to resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece, the Guardian reports.

Why it matters: While the accord still has to be accepted by Macedonians in a referendum and ratified by both countries' parliaments, the deal would allow Macedonia to potentially join NATO and the European Union as it has been blocked in the past by Greece.

The backdrop: For decades, Greece has been outraged over the former Yugoslav republic’s use of the name Macedonia, claiming it implies that it's coveting Greek territory and heritage. Macedonia was already the name of a northern region of Greece before the new Slavic nation adopted it.

What's happening: The deal has provoked protests over the weekend and political opposition on both sides of the border. The New York Times reports that seven out of 10 Greeks oppose the agreement, citing a weekend opinion poll published by the Proto Thema newspaper.

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday survived a no-confidence motion against his government over the accord, orchestrated by the country's main opposition party.
  • In Macedonia, President Gjorge Ivanov is reportedly against the agreement, which has also triggered protests in Skopje, the Macedonian capital.

Go deeper

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Jim Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.