A protest like any other? Opposition to the ‘Prespa Agreement’ in Greece


In June 2018 the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras signed the Prespa Agreement, in an attempt to resolve a thirty-year dispute for the use of the name ‘Macedonia’ by its northern neighbour (previously named Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). There has been widespread opposition to the Prespa Agreement that led to a number of very large demonstrations before and after the signing of the agreement in Athens and Thessaloniki. Nonetheless, and amid heated debates, the Greek parliament ratified the Prespa Agreement in January 2019. The Macedonian issue is currently the most controversial and dividing topic among politicians and voters. Though there is increased polarisation, anecdotal evidence indicate that it is an issue that cuts across the left-right ideological divides. The Prespa Agreement upstaged even the country’s successful completion of the eurozone bailout programme in August 2018. Drawing upon the results of the 2019 Greek Election survey this paper aim to address three fundamental questions. First, we examine whether there is a regional element identified with the movement. Do the people who come from the Greek region of Macedonia and/or Northern Greece more generally, feel stronger about the issue than people from other parts of Greece? And are they more willing to actively participate to the protests? Second, we seek to identify the social and political background of the people who engaged in the movement either as protesters or supporters. Who are they and what are the main reasons that lead them to support the movement? Third, we question whether the movement has been used as an anti-government and anti-SYRIZA protest from people who want to express their dissatisfaction with the governmental policies of austerity. This study is the first systematic attempt to identify the background of the ‘protest for Macedonia’ movement and place it within the broader context of protest participation and protest voting theory.

Dec 16, 2019 7:00 PM — 8:00 PM
Aristotle Univeristy of Thessaloniki
Egnatia 46, Room 3D, 3rd Floor, Thessaloniki, Greece