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Background to the Macedonian question


Executive Summary


Historical Background

Greek Standpoint

Macedonian Standpoint

Australian Position



Appendix A

Greece's position on the FYROM's application for UN

membership - [Not available online]

Appendix B

Official Responses to the Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia (Badinter Commission)

[Not available online]

Executive Summary

Recognition by the Federal Government of the Republic of Macedonia under the temporary name adopted by the United Nations of 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' (FYROM) on 15 February 1994 has given rise to considerable discussion, controversy and criticism from a number of sides.

The angry reaction of Greek-Australian community leaders was predictable. After all, they had been lobbying the Government not to recognise the government in Skopje ever since the break-up of Yugoslavia. It was subsequently revealed that the Federal Government had been debating its decision for some time.

Macedonian community leaders were pleased with the Government's belated decision to recognise FYROM, but equally predictably upset at the conditions imposed by Canberra for the opening of a FYROM consulate and at the insistence that community members be termed 'Slav-Macedonians' for official purposes.

The Australian media was also critical of the Federal Government's handling of the affair.

The firebombings of churches, attacks on business premises and proliferation of graffiti which, interestingly, did not appear to occur in other countries with large Greek and Macedonian populations, were widely deplored. The Victorian Ethnic Affairs Commissioner, Professor Trang Thomas, chaired a meeting of the two sides, following which community leaders blamed the violence on a small minority of hot-heads, which was undoubtedly accurate. However, the two communities themselves cannot escape some responsibility for appearing to have fanned the flames of this dispute for many years in the ethnic press and from the pulpit. State Premiers and Opposition leaders who took sides in the dispute were criticised by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, as well as by the media.

This Current Issues Brief looks at the history of Macedonia and the stances of the two sides on the Macedonian Question as reflected in official statements and press comments. It also considers official Australian Government views on the subject.

While there is a long and complex history to claims and counter-claims in this controversy, this region's history is both a cause and a consequence. Moreover, since the nation and the state have often not coincided in determining units of government in international relations, as in the cases of the actors in this drama, this paper concludes with some reflections on the merit or otherwise of proprietary interests in history and state symbols, issues which lie at the heart of the rival claims.


The Republic of Macedonia (hereafter FYROM) - as distinct from the historical territory known as Macedonia (hereafter Macedonia) - was a Republic of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) until the latter's disintegration in 1991-92.

The FYROM has an area of 25,713 square kilometres and a population of 2.1 million. Macedonians comprise only 64.6 per cent of the total population; the main ethnic minorities are Albanians (21 per cent), Turks (4.8 per cent) and Romany (Gypsies) (2.7 per cent). The capital is Skopje (see Map A).

On 25 January 1991, the FYROM adopted a declaration of sovereignty. A referendum on the country's future was held on 8 September 1991 which was, however, boycotted by the Albanian minority, and on 17 November 1991 a new Constitution was adopted. The FYROM declared its independence on 19 December 1991. The FYROM's independence, like that of some other former Republics of the SFR Yugoslavia such as Slovenia and Croatia, was finally recognised by Australia under the name 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' on 15 February 1994 after 58 other countries had already done so - and only after recognition by the United States. 1 The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Senator the Hon Nick Bolkus, had determined that it was 'too hard to sell (recognition) politically until, and unless, the US changed its position.' 2

In a statement made in Brussels on 29 October 1993, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou affirmed that

community members, including Greece, had recognised the state of FYROM. This was the case from the moment it (FYROM) was admitted to the UN and there was thus recognition of this political formation's political existence and sovereignty.

Nevertheless, Greece has imposed a blockade of the country, which is landlocked. Greece claims the sole right to use the name 'Macedonia' on the basis that the ancient territory of Macedonia was Greek. Greece further argues that it has its own Macedonian region 3 and that therefore no other country should use this name.

Historical Background

Ancient territory and population

Macedonia was formed, like all ancient empires, through the merging of related tribes. It was a territory, not a people. Macedonia proper 4 comprised the plains watered by the Axius (Vardar) and Haliacmon (Vistritza) and adjoining regions. In the mountain valleys the Upper Macedonian principalities, which were separate kingdoms until the reign of Phillip II, were counted as belonging to Epirus at various periods (see Map B). The Macedonians did not regard themselves as Greek, although they were closely related in both language and culture. The name 'Macedonian' is, however, Greek. The original capital was Aigai (Edessa/Vodena), but from the 4th Century BC was located at Pella in northern Greece. Ancient Macedonia was noted above all for its timber, which was essential for the Greek shipbuilding industry.

Pre-Roman period

Unification began in the 7th Century BC under the Argeaden Dynasty founded by Perdikkas I. Between about 514-479 BC Macedonia was a Persian tributary. Under Alexander I (495-450/440 BC) Macedonia adopted elements of Greek culture as a deliberate policy fostered by the ruling house. Under a later monarch, Amyntas III (413-399 BC), Macedonia became influential in the neighbouring 'state' of Thessalia. It achieved its greatest extent under Philip II (359-336 BC), who subjugated the Greek 'states' of Chalcidice and Thrace. His defeat of a confederation of Greek 'states' at Chaeronea in 338 BC made him ruler of Greece. At this stage Macedonia extended from the Aegean to Thrace. Philip II's son, Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), expanded the empire throughout Asia Minor and as far as Afghanistan and the Punjab, defeating the Persians in several battles. Following his death, the empire fell apart, but Antigonus III (229-221 BC) regained control over the Greek 'states.' After three wars against the Romans, the last Macedonian king, Perseus, was defeated by L. Aemilius Paullus in 168 BC at Pydna (near Olympus).

Roman province

After their victory over Perseus, the Romans divided Macedonia into four regions. They also forbade the cutting of timber for shipbuilding and mining for gold and silver. In 148 BC the Romans joined Epirus to the four regions and created the Province of Macedonia which extended from Durres (Dyrrhachium) to Philippi and Skopje (Scupi) to Pharsalus. The Province was administered by a Proconsul with the rank of praetorian. Thessalia was joined to Macedonia under Antonius Pius (138-161 AD) and Salonika became the capital.

Mediaeval period

After the Roman Empire was divided in 395 AD, Macedonia became part of the Byzantine Empire. It was invaded by the Goths and Huns, and later came under Slav domination from the 6th Century AD. The Slavic element in the inhabitants of the region dates from this period. Macedonia was seized by Bulgaria in the 9th Century AD, but regained by the Byzantine Empire in the early 11th Century. After the temporary dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire at the hands of the Seljuq Turks, Normans and the Crusaders (Constantinople itself fell to a Western Crusade in 1204), several rulers fought over Macedonia. In 1261 it again became part of the Byzantine Empire, only to be conquered by Serbia in the 14th Century. From the late 14th-19th Century Macedonia formed part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

Later history

Under the Treaty of San Stefano (Yesilkoy) ending the last Russian-Turkish War, which was signed on 3 March 1878, most of Macedonia was given to Bulgaria (then protected by Russia). This treaty also created independent Rumania, Montenegro and Serbia and awarded part of Armenia to Russia. Because of fears of domination of the Balkans by 'Greater Bulgaria,' the powers amended these territorial changes at the 1878 Berlin Congress, returning Macedonia to Turkey. 5

The main Macedonian nationalist movement, IMRO (Independent Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation), formed in 1893, eventually split between those who wanted to unite with Bulgaria and those who wanted to establish an independent state uniting Vardar Macedonia (Yugoslavia), Pirin Macedonia (Bulgaria) and Aegean (Greek) Macedonia. 6

Following the Second Balkan War between Serbia, Greece, Rumania and Turkey on the one hand, and Bulgaria on the other, Greece and Serbia signed a treaty in 1913 under which Macedonia was largely divided as at present. This division was basically confirmed by the Treaty of Neuilly in 1919. Between 1913-1926 there were large population movements, with (Slav) Macedonians leaving Greece for Bulgaria and (Greek) Macedonians leaving Vardar and Pirin Macedonia for Greece. 7 These population exchanges were anchored in the Greek-Bulgarian Convention of 27 November 1919. The 1920 Treaty of Sevres obliged Greece to protect its Slavic minority and to allow the use of (Slavic) Macedonian in education and for official purposes. In September 1924 Greece and Bulgaria signed a Protocol (Kalfov-Politis Agreement) placing the Macedonian minority in Greece under League of Nations protection. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (the precursor to Yugoslavia) thereupon abrogated the 1913 treaty.

On 15 January 1925 Greece withdrew from the Protocol; henceforth all Macedonians were regarded as Greek, all placenames were changed, 8 all Slavic schools were closed and even Church Slavonic texts on icons adorning churches were overpainted with Greek texts. During the Metaxas regime (1936-1941) large numbers of Macedonians were interned because of Greek doubts about their loyalty, particularly following the outbreak of war with Italy in October 1940. A campaign to teach adult Macedonians the Greek language was also introduced. 9

When Greece was defeated by the Axis forces in 1941, Bulgaria occupied eastern Greek (Aegean) Macedonia, while the Germans occupied Salonika and part of western Macedonia. The remainder was occupied by Italian troops. The brief period of Bulgarian occupation was so repressive that the Macedonian population was alienated and Greeks forced from work. Further, Greeks became more opposed than ever to the 'United Macedonia' line of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and, later, the Communist-led resistance movement, National Liberation Front (EAM) and its military arm (ELAS). The Greek Civil War, in which the Greek Government was supported by Britain and the United States, led many Macedonians and Greek Communists to flee to Yugoslavia (some 40 per cent of Communist troops were Macedonian). In July 1949 Marshal Tito sealed the Yugoslav-Greek border after KKE moves to establish an anti-Tito National Liberation Front.

After the Civil War, the Greek Government viewed the Macedonian population with suspicion and attempted to remove them from sensitive border areas. Under Decree No 2536 (1953) of 23 August 1953, emigrees were deprived of their property and citizenship unless they returned within three years. The Macedonian region was to be colonised with Greeks. Only Greek names were allowed to be used, and Macedonians were required to confirm in public that they did not speak Macedonian. In 1954 the Papagos Government removed Macedonians from official posts in the region. These policies led many Macedonians to emigrate to Australia, Canada and the United States. Two Acts of the Papandreou Government - No 106841 (1982) and No 1540 (1985) - excluded Macedonians from a right of return to Greece and a right to regain their expropriated property; 10 Greek Macedonians are required to deny their nationality to regain their property. Both Acts violate provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Macedonian language

Since Greece equates Greek identity with use of the Greek language, the nature of the Ancient Macedonian language is a not insignificant matter. Plutarch, in his description of the events after Alexander's death, refers to the soldiers 'shouting in Macedonian.' Macedonians take this to mean that the original Macedonian people were distinct from their Greek colonisers. Demosthenes also referred to Alexander as a 'barbarian,' in other words, a non-Greek. The Byzantine ruler Basil I (867-886 AD), founder of the illustrious 'Macedonian Dynasty' which lasted until 1055, spoke Armenian.

Ancient Macedonian was not a Greek dialect, but did possess elements of ancient Greek alongside a non-Greek core. Because of phonetic differences, it is apparent that much of an older stratum cannot have been borrowed from Greek, for example Mac. ad'e 'sky' as against Gk. aith'er, or Mac. abr'uwes 'eyebrows' as against Gk. ophr'yes. The relationship of ancient Macedonian to Illyrian (an Indo-European language) is still a matter of controversy. Another stratum contained words borrowed from other sources, such as Latin and Old High German. A newer stratum did include direct borrowings from Greek, either in their original form or adapted phonetically.

Modern Macedonian is, of course, a Slavic language dating from the entry of Slavic peoples to the region during the mediaeval period.

Greek Standpoint

Successive Greek governments have denied the very idea of Macedonian nationalism or the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece. To the authorities in Athens, Macedonians are 'Slavophone Greeks' (Slavic-speaking Greeks) - while 'Macedonia is Greek and only Greek.' A number of Macedonians have been tried in the Greek courts for opposing the Government line.

Greece held talks with both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in September 1991 in efforts to have the FYROM incorporated into Greece. When this was unsuccessful, Greece tried to use its European Community (now European Union) membership to fight not only recognition of the FYROM, but also that country's use of the name 'Macedonia' and the 16-ray sun from the tomb of Philip II as the national symbol (adopted at the urging of the Australian Macedonian community). The official Greek view is that the authorities in Skopje have irredentist designs on Aegean Macedonia. However, the new Macedonian Constitution was amended on 6 January 1992 as follows:

Amendment I

1. The Republic of Macedonia has no territorial claims against neighbouring states.


Amendment II

1. The Republic shall not interfere in the sovereign rights of other states and their internal affairs.

It is, of course, true that there are elements in the FYROM, particularly the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE (Party of Macedonian National Unity), which campaign for a 'Greater Macedonia.' 11

However, at the same time there are also elements in Greece which have irredentist designs on neighbouring Albania, the southern part of which they call 'Northern Epirus.' On 10 April 1994 a party of armed Greeks attacked a recruit training unit near the border post at Episkopi killing two Albanian soldiers. The Greek Government denied any involvement and responsibility was claimed by the extremist organisation Northern Epirus Liberation Front. However, Tirana claimed that the attackers were wearing Greek Army uniforms. Albania responded by expelling the Greek Consul in Gjirokaster and calling on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Greece for 'state terrorism.' The Albanian Government appears to have since retreated from its earlier view that the Greek Government was 'directly responsible.' 12

On 16 January 1992 Bulgaria formally recognised the FYROM. Greece continued to lobby the European Community and on 27 June 1992 the EC Foreign Ministers meeting in Lisbon decided to back the Greek position. However, since then all EU countries have recognised the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

On 7 April 1993 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 817 recommending that the 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' be admitted to membership of the United Nations. In doing so, it noted the "difference which has arisen over the name of the State." The FYROM became a member of the United Nations with effect from 8 April 1993. For the official Greek position on the FYROM's application for UN membership, see Appendix A.

On 16 February 1994 Greece imposed a blockade on the FYROM, banning all bilateral and transit trade through the port of Salonika, with the sole exception of humanitarian needs. Since three-quarters of its imports and exports, and 90% of its oil, were previously shipped through the Aegean port, the economy of the FYROM has been severely affected. Albania has offered the FYROM the use of its ports to beat the Greek blockade, but this will require a connection of the two rail systems by means of a new line around Lake Ochrid. European Union foreign ministers met on 21 February 1994 to condemn the Greek action. 13 The Greek Government's response was that its security was threatened by the FYROM. At a further meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Ioannina on 27 March 1994, the view was that there were doubts as to whether the Greek case was 'well-founded.' On 6 April 1994 the European Commission decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. 14

Macedonian Standpoint

The FYROM Government's position is that it has met all requirements for recognition, has complied with United Nations' sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro), has renounced any territorial claims in Greece, has established a stable regime and has reached an accommodation with its Albanian minority.

It was on the basis of a satisfactory evaluation of the FYROM's constitutional and other legal framework by the Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia (Badinter Commission) that European nations recognised the FYROM, (see Appendix B for official responses to the Commission's questions). Further legislation to enact provisions in the Constitution enshrining minority rights is currently before the National Assembly ( Sobranje).

The FYROM is not willing to compromise on its choice of name (i.e., Republic of Macedonia), which has been used for almost half a century, as to do so might then lead to the questioning of its very identity.

The FYROM fears the prospect of Serbian irredentism; there are groups in Belgrade who still regard the country as 'South Serbia.' It faces a Greek embargo. As a landlocked country, its only alternative supply routes are from Burgas (Bulgaria) and Durres or Vlora (Albania), all of which ports suffer from infrastructure problems. It is obviously not in the FYROM's interest, nor does it have the capability, to embark on any 'adventure' to incorporate Greek Macedonia. UN Security Council Resolution 795, adopted on 11 December 1992, which provides for deployment of 800 UNPROFOR troops to the FYROM to monitor the borders with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has provided a measure of security.

The FYROM's willingness to strive for an agreement with Greece on 'all open issues' was again stressed by President Kiro Gligorov in a statement on 9 February 1994 following recognition by the United States:

We are prepared to address these issues with good will, in a constructive spirit and with due flexibility from both sides. I would like, once again, to emphasise that the Republic of Macedonia respects the territorial integrity and borders of the Republic of Greece and all neighbouring countries. 15

A number of international envoys, including UN Special Envoy Cyrus Vance and EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek, have been attempting to mediate between Greece and the FYROM, so far without success.

Australian Position

Prior to recognition of the FYROM on 15 February 1994, the issue of Australian recognition had been debated in Parliament on a number of occasions. The official position was, as expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in answer to a Question on Notice on 2 June 1992, that Australia would recognise the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 'when all outstanding issues, including the issue of the state, have been settled.'

The 'outstanding issues' had been spelled out by Senator Evans in an answer to a Question without Notice on 3 March 1992, when he said:

Australia will not proceed to recognition until the following basic, outstanding questions are resolved: the name issue - the use of the word 'Macedonia' - being settled in a way which does not cause further tension with Greece; Greece's concern about possible territorial claims or aspirations being fully met; and the international community's concern about the protection of minorities being fully satisfied.

As already noted, the FYROM has written a renunciation of any territorial claims into its Constitution. As far as the Albanian minority is concerned, the Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity has 25 seats in the 120-seat National Assembly and is the second-largest party in the ruling coalition. This can be contrasted with the situation in Greece, where the Rainbow Party representing the country's Macedonian minority was banned by the Supreme Court from fielding candidates in the recent European Parliament elections.

Australian recognition of the FYROM was exceptionally qualified. In announcing the decision, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that

agreement to the opening of a FYROM Consulate in Australia would be subject to the conditions that it describe itself appropriately (as the Consulate of the 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,' not as the 'Republic of Macedonia'), and that no contentious flag or other symbol be displayed pending final resolution of relevant outstanding issues. 16

Australia has not imposed such conditions in recognising other newly independent States, such as Croatia, whose continued use of the sahovnica, or symbol of the widely disliked Pavelic regime, is an affront to many Australian citizens. It seems unlikely that the FYROM Government will accept Australia's conditions, which have not been imposed by other states.

The fortunately rare display of inter-ethnic violence and turmoil which erupted over this issue was not helped by the statements and actions of some State Premiers and Opposition Leaders. Their involvement in the issue was attacked as political opportunism by the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, and was widely criticised in the media. Both Age and Australian editorials condemned the Victorian Premier for interfering in foreign affairs on his visit to Greece. 17 Media reports suggested that Mr Kennett even offered to help United States President Bill Clinton and Special Envoy Cyrus Vance mediate on the Macedonian question. 18

The violence that was manifest in Australia did not appear to occur in other countries with large Greek and Macedonian populations. 19 The reason for this is not entirely clear, but obviously partly reflects the fact that there are large concentrations of both communities in Melbourne. However, this issue also appears to have been kept as a continuing focus for attention for many years by the Greek and Macedonian ethnic presses, by some clergy and by irredentist elements in the two communities. 20 Amongst the articles in the media by academics supporting one or other side, many containing the kind of inflammatory language referred to above, those by Dr Alexander Zaharopoulos and Professor Peter Hill stand out. The former's analysis of Greek schooling helps explain the attitudes of Greek nationalists, while Peter Hill's two articles highlight the impact of national myths. 21

In order to placate the Greek community following the decision to recognise the FYROM, the Federal Government held a meeting with Greek community leaders on 10 March 1994. Following protests from the Macedonian community that its views were being ignored completely, a meeting was hastily convened for the following week, when a further condition was added to those already imposed: Australian Government Departments and Agencies were to be instructed to refer to people living in, or originating from, the FYROM as 'Slav Macedonians.' The term 'Slav Macedonian' or, as appropriate, FYROM was to be used as a geographic descriptor where country of birth or nationality data was required to be recorded for the Government's program administration or service delivery purposes. 22 The Government's insistence that this was a geographic description only and one which did not affect the right of individuals or organisations to call themselves whatever they wish did not placate some who had difficulty with it. The Age, for example, explained in an editorial why it preferred to use a simple geographic descriptor. 23 The Acting Managing Director of SBS, Mr Quang Luu, promptly refused to follow the directive on the grounds that 'SBS does not impose labels on ethnic groups, but uses the groups' self identification.' 24 And others noted that, as is well known, there are Kurdish minorities in several countries, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Russia, among others, where yet no attempt has been made to insist that Kurds in Australia use such ethnonyms as 'Turkish Kurd' or whatever. Nor does the Federal Government support official Turkish views on the 'Kurdish question.'

Concluding Comment

It would seem that, of Senator Evans' three 'outstanding questions,' the principal unresolved issues remain the use of the name 'Macedonia' and the use of the star symbol.

Since there are many instances of neighbouring countries sharing names, of countries sharing a name with a sub-national region in a neighbouring country (as in this case) or of two neighbouring sub-national regions sharing a name - none of which has given rise to such emotions, Greece's insistence on this point is, for many, difficult to understand. To give just one example from many, there is a Province of Luxembourg in Belgium adjacent to the independent Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Also open to question is reliance on history or historical boundaries to determine what territory is or is not a nation and what nationality a people possess. On at least two occasions in its history, the entire territory of present-day Greece was part of foreign empires. The 'modern' nation state dates largely from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) - the boundaries of earlier 'nations' were considerably more fluid since citizens owed allegiance to a sovereign (ecclesiastical or temporal) rather than to a territory, and this may or may not have had little association with ethnicity. To look at the example of Luxembourg again, in the late 15th Century it included territory from present-day Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

As Professor Peter Hill (University of Hamburg) has observed, both sides to the dispute can be seen to be attempting to justify contemporary political claims through assumed historical, ethnic and linguistic continuity, which in each case can be questioned:

The modern-day 'Greeks' are not descended from the ancient Greeks. They appropriated ancient Greek cultural symbols in the 19th Century simply because they happened to live in more or less the same part of the world as the ancient Greeks did. Their justification for this was thus the same as that used by the present-day Macedonians in appropriating the ancient Macedonian heritage. Most of the 19th-Century 'Greeks' not only did not call themselves Hellenes (it was the intellectual nationalists that taught them to do that), they did not even speak Greek, but rather Albanian, Slavonic or Vlach dialects. 25

Nor, it may be observed, are symbols the proprietary right of a single country. Stars shine across national borders. The Southern Cross constellation is found in the flags of several countries situated south of the equator. 26 A star remarkably similar to the 'Star of Vergina,' which after all is purely pictographic and does not represent an actual constellation, and adapted from Simon Bolivar's flag, is also found on the flag of Uruguay.

1 The majority of countries have recognised the FYROM under the UN's 'temporary' designation of 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,' although a number, including the other former Yugoslav Republics have extended recognition to the 'Republic of Macedonia.'

2 Sydney Morning Herald, 26.3.1994, 29.

3 Actually, this dates only from the 1987 administrative reforms when the Regions of Macedonia Central, Macedonia East and Thrace, and Macedonia West were created.

4 It should be borne in mind that boundaries change over time. Even China, with its long history, did not reach its greatest historical extent until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). And at various periods, Sweden, Lithuania, England, Spain, Luxembourg and Germany (to mention only a few examples) ruled over much greater territories in Europe than they now comprise.

5 The Conference was convened by Germany at the request of Austrian-Hungarian Foreign Minister Andrassy and British Prime Minister Disraeli. Both Austria-Hungary and Great Britain feared that the new states would provide a pretext for Russian domination of the Balkans.

6 These are commonly accepted terms for the geographical regions inhabited by Macedonians in the Balkan states. See, for example, Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans, 2 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1983).

7 These terms are used in a geographical, not ethnic, sense.

8 This took place in November 1926; see Efimeris tis Kiverniseos 322, 21.11.1926.

9 Use of Macedonian had been banned by Decree No 2366 (1938) on 7 September 1938.

10 These rights were reserved to 'Greeks by origin.'

11 It is, however, considered likely that the VMRO will lose seats in the next National Assembly election. See Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovenia. Country Report. 1st Quarter 1994 (London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 1994), p. 26.

12 Greece. Country Report. 2nd Quarter 1994 (London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 1994), pp. 9-10.

13 Under Article 223 of the Treaty of Rome a European Union member state can take special measures in the event of 'serious international tension constituting a threat of war.' However, it must consult with affected states prior to taking any action (Article 225).

14 Greece. Country Report. 2nd Quarter 1994, pp. 7-8.

15 Cited from Mic news bulletin, 11.2.1994.

16 News Release M 11, 15 February 1994.

17 Age, 14.4.1994, 17; Australian, 15.4.1994, 12.

18 Age, 19.4.1994, 4; 21.4.1994, 3.

19 This assessment, based on analysis of wire services, was confirmed by both the Canadian High Commission and the Embassy of the United States of America.

20 See the Sydney Morning Herald, 16.3.1994, 17, discussing Anastasios Tamis's recent book, The Immigration and Settlement of Macedonian Greeks in Australia (La Trobe University Press). Dr Tamis refers to the tension between the two communities reaching a climax between 1946-1956.

21 See Sydney Morning Herald, 23.3.1994, 15; Australian, 13.4.1994; Age, 20.4.1994, 17. Peter Hill is Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Hamburg and author of The Macedonians in Australia.

22. While accepting that it was not the Government's intent to use an ethnic/linguistic designation, this for many is precisely what it has done. It can be argued that 'Slav', is no more a geographic descriptor than 'Romance' or 'Sino.' Does the perfectly valid linguistic term 'Sino-Tibetan' say anything about national boundaries?

23 Age, 18.5.1994, 21.

24 Australian, 17.3.1994, 2.

25 Age, 20.4.1994, 17.

26 Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Falkland Islands, Western Samoa, Brazil and several Australian and Brazilian States.

ISSN 1321-1560

Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 1994

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1994