Thousands of citizens of North Macedonia risk not being able to leave the country or return home after February 12.
Citizens of North Macedonia queued at police stations this weekend in an attempt to get their new passports.
The old ones, which do not contain the word “North”, will expire on Monday.
While old identity documents will remain valid at home, the delay in issuing passports risks affecting citizens’ movements, limiting travel and preventing those abroad after February 12 from returning home.
“It is physically impossible to release all documents by the deadline. Printing and issuing passports is the biggest problem, and it can only be reduced with better organization and management,” said the new Technical Minister of the Interior, Pance Toshkovski.
At the current pace of issuing about 50,000 passports per month, he estimated it will take another full year after the deadline to complete the process.
The name dispute dates back to ancient history, because both present-day North Macedonia and northern Greece were part of a Roman province called Macedonia.