TIRANA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A recent poll shows that more than 60 percent of Macedonians have preferred preserving the country's name to joining the EU and NATO, news from Skopje said Monday.
A total of 66.5 percent of 1,110 respondents said the country' s name is more important than joining EU and NATO, while 26.2 percent said they favored Macedonia's membership of the two clubs, the poll conducted by the Institute for Political Research on July 3-4 shows.
But the views fall far apart in regard to the respondents ethnic backgrounds. About 82 percent of Macedonians said the name is more important, while nearly 78 percent of ethnic Albanians who account for one quarter of the Macedonia's 2.1 billion people favor the country's accession into NATO and the EU.
In December last year, the EU postponed the decision to grant Macedonia the much desired date for start of its accession talks due to the unresolved name issue between Macedonia and its southern neighbor Greece.
Greece has been opposed to its northern neighbor using the name of Macedonia, arguing that the name implies territorial claims against its own northern province, also called Macedonia.
Macedonia's bid to join NATO was also thwarted by Greece over the same dispute in 2008.