By John Carr
Demonstrators in the cities and towns of northern Greece will take to the streets this evening to stress their opposition to a proposed compromise with neighbouring Macedonia over that country’s name.
Talks between Athens and Skopje have been sputtering on for nearly six months now, as the name Macedonia continues to be bitterly disputed between the two capitals. Most Greeks fear that their northern neighbour could have designs on the northern Greek province of the same name.
Here in Athens the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has seemed willing to accept a compromise term such as North Macedonia or Upper Macedonia, but much of Greek public opinion is strongly against conceding even that much.
Macedonia, meanwhile, has been hardening its own stand in the face of its own nationalist public opinion. The talks had recently hit a snag over Greek demands that Macedonia tweak its constitution, something that Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev fears could be political suicide if he agrees.
It’s not clear what this evening’s rallies in northern Greece will accomplish, except to make it harder for the Tsipras government to untangle this 25-year Gordian knot.