More than three weeks after the referendum in Macedonia, nothing has been settled. The referendum itself was about changing Macedonia’s name to end a long-running dispute with Greece. This would then unlock the country’s EU and NATO accession bids and with a new name, Northern Macedonia, would seemingly have a new future ahead. Although voters overwhelmingly backed an agreement to change the country’s name to Northern Macedonia, the turnout was unexpectedly low: only 34% of Macedonians voted in the referendum on “Macedonia”.
While the Prime minister Zoran Zaev called the results “a success for democracy and for a European Macedonia”, with most voters abstaining, it’s unclear whether the deal can actually move forward. Since then, the words such as “reconciliation” and “disappointment” keep popping up.
We travelled to Macedonia where we spoke with Irena Cvetkovic from the organisation Coalition Margins. In our conversation, we were primarily interested in what the referendum means for everyday life in Macedonia and its people, leaving the politicians aside for now.