The government of Northern Macedonia has started the procedures to start the practical implementation of the law concerning the use of languages and, in particular, of the Albanian language.
Government spokesman Muhamet Hoxha reported that during Wednesday's government meeting, Albanian ministers held - for the first time in history - their parliamentary speeches in their mother tongue.
The Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, highlighted how, with the use of the languages of the ethnic communities, a legal solution is provided that represents at the same time an example of the commitment of the institutions but also the right of the ethnic communities in Macedonia to use their language.
Albanian as a second official language
Last 15 March, the Macedonian parliament approved with 69 votes in favor of the law on official languages in the country. The new law meant that in all public offices in Northern Macedonia, the Albanian language was used in addition to the Macedonian language.
Until that day, the possibility of using Albanian as an official language was limited to municipalities where the Albanian minority represented at least 20% of residents.
The linguistic question has always been an extremely delicate element in Macedonia, where in the 2001 the Macedonian and Albanian ethnic components gave rise to a brief but bloody battle, closed thanks to international intervention and the signing of the Ohrid agreements.
In addition, the government has also initiated the procedure for implementing the new state name in the meantime: the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
In all national institutions, such as the government, ministries, assembly and other bodies, the identification tables will have to be replaced with the new state name; subsequently, even local and district governments will do the same thing. As established by law, the identification tables will also be in Albanian.
The Skopje government decisions came after the Greek speaker ratified the Prespa agreement, which put an end to a controversy going on from 27 years to now.
The same agreement, reached last June 17, has unblocked the process of joining the NATO of Northern Macedonia and should lead to the beginning of talks on the country's accession to the European Union.