Protesters take to the streets in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Jan. 21
Konstantinos Tsakalidis—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
January 25, 2018 6:04 AM EST


The disagreement started nearly 30 years ago, when the former Yugoslav republic declared independence and chose its name. Opponents say it implies a territorial claim over Greece’s northern region, which is also called Macedonia.


The issue led Greece to block its neighbor’s attempts to join NATO and the E.U. In 1994, Greece instituted a crippling trade embargo, which was lifted in 1995 after FYROM conceded to amend its constitution and change its national flag.


Both governments hope to come to a solution during U.N.-moderated talks, which started in January. They hope to reach an accord by June, but a recent poll showed that the majority of Greeks do not want “Macedonia” used in any solution.

This appears in the February 05, 2018 issue of TIME.

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