In a symbolic gesture, the Greek government will most probably be the first country to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol, as it aims to do it by 8 February, sources close to the issue told

On 28 January, a NATO spokesperson said the date for signing the accession protocol  of the 30th member of the alliance would be determined “in the coming days”, after Athens and Skopje both ratified a historic deal that ended their 27-year-old dispute in January, which has so far blocked Skopje’s efforts to join NATO and the EU.

This practically means that North Macedonia could become a NATO member at the July summit if the rest of NATO allies speed up the ratification procedures as well. Normally the ratification process takes a year.

According to sources, the official text of the accession protocol was approved yesterday and the 29 NATO permanent representatives are now waiting for authorisation from their countries to sign it.

Once it is signed, it will be sent to the 29 capitals to be ratified by the national parliaments.

“Greece wants to ratify the accession protocol by 8 February,” the source said, adding that Athens will probably be the first country to open the NATO doors for North Macedonia.