After a landmark deal was announced in June to resolve the decades-old name dispute between Macedonia and Greece, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev called for a constitutional referendum to accept the deal. On September 30, 2018 citizens will cast their lot on the question, “Are you in favor of NATO and EU membership, and accepting the name agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece?” 

An effective referendum requires a properly-informed and politically engaged electorate. In the near term, a “yes” vote in the referendum could pave the way for Macedonia’s long-standing aspirations to join NATO and the EU. However, the referendum requires 50 percent turnout for the results to hold, and the deal still faces strong domestic opposition from groups who are intent on boycotting. 

As the referendum date nears, the Atlantic Council aims to monitor and detect the spread of misinformation, encourage increased dialogue to spread awareness around the issue, and carry out an advocacy effort to lift local voices of citizens of Macedonia, and to provide them with a global platform to offer their perspectives and to engage in the debate.

This effort is a project of the Atlantic Council’s Balkans Initiative. The Initiative is designed to address the political and economic challenges that hinder the region’s European aspirations and to promote strong transatlantic leadership and cooperation on regional issues. The Atlantic Council seeks to drive forward a positive narrative for the region that will serve as the building blocks on which countries can move forward on their paths toward the European Union and the broader transatlantic community.