GZERO Media logo

Big Stories in Small Countries: Macedonia(s) Edition

Big Stories in Small Countries: Macedonia(s) Edition

For nearly three decades now, a tiny Balkan country north of Greece has been fighting with Athens over something very basic: its own name. The country in question — known internationally as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” — wishes to be known simply as “Macedonia.” But the Greeks object — they say that would imply a territorial claim on the northern Greek region of the same name.


As a result, Athens has consistently blocked the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s” path to joining both the EU and NATO.

In recent weeks, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (pictured above) and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev have signaled the possibility of a deal that hinges on a modified version of “Macedonia.”

Both Washington and Brussels would love a breakthrough here — they see the country’s accession to the EU and NATO as a boon to Balkan stability and a bulwark against Russia’s growing influence in the region.

For Tsipras a deal would curry favor with Brussels at an opportune moment. Athens is about to exit its financial bailout plan but still has to negotiate next steps with the EU. And being in Washington’s good graces ought to help him as tensions with perennial foe Turkey continue to rise.

But Greeks are overwhelmingly opposed to any concessions to Macedonia, as is Tsipras’ nationalist coalition partner. Mishandling the issue could backfire terribly.

Alas, if only Alexander the Great (of Macedon!) had held his empire together — none of this would matter.

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

More Show less

On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

More Show less

Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal