SDSM party leader Zoran Zaev insisted that NATO will protect Macedonia from external threats and this makes the humiliating name change worth it.

We never knew who has designs on us, who wants to partition us. Now Article 5 says that if one NATO member state is attacked, all 30 member states are attacked. We now have a state, we have full territorial integrity, stability within our borders and we export stability in the entire region. We have a state recognized by the entire world that is dominantly populated with Macedonians whose identity is recognized by the whole world and who speak the Macedonian language, which is now recognized by the whole world, Zaev insisted during a campaign event in Ohrid. Zaev also said that Macedonia will join the EU within six years.

He did not address the fact that Greece is using the Prespa treaty he signed to demand that the Macedonian nation is defined narrowly, and without using the stand-alone name “Macedonian”, while Bulgaria insists that the Macedonian language is a dialect of the Bulgarian and that the Macedonian national identity is less than a 100 years old. He did use the name Macedonia far more frequently than he normally does, when he uses the imposed name “North Macedonia”.