The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) found out to its detriment that its name was holding it back. Indeed, the moniker annoyed the Greeks – who claimed the name Macedonia for its own region – so much that Athens vetoed Fyrom’s membership of top international organisations over a 27-year period. But Fyrom now has a new name, with Greece’s blessing at last, and today the Republic of North Macedonia will begin the process of joining the Nato alliance. “It’s only a matter of time before it’s signed off,” Politico’s editor in Brussels, Ryan Heath, told The Monocle Minute. “But there’s potentially a much better prize up for grabs. Skopje wants to join the EU and that wouldn’t even be entertained until the country changed its name.” Although EU membership is not guaranteed, Moscow will be wary of its influence declining in the region.
Bertrand Goldberg and Mies van der Rohe are just two of the master architects who made their mark on Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. But in recent years the design dialogue here has been driven by a political figurehead instead. The city’s mayor (and Barack Obama’s former chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel, whose tenure is in its ninth year, has transformed the Chicago Architecture Biennial into North America’s largest architecture and design exhibition. Yesterday the event’s curators announced that the theme of the third iteration of the event, which kicks off in September, will explore the social and environmental issues that architects in the US and beyond are tackling. Mayors and urbanists should take note.
Bad news for devotees of France’s still-standing communist newspaper. L’Humanité has weathered many storms since launch in 1904 but its readership has tumbled from hundreds of thousands to 30,000 and it is now fighting bankruptcy (a decision will be made next week). Despite government funding, a collapse in print advertising has left the iconic title in tatters and its decline represents more than the loss of a little-read rag. The news sent shockwaves through the French establishment, where politicians on the left and right have taken out subscriptions to try and buoy the brand. As the gilets jaunes continue their disorganised social-media-driven rampages for a series of unspecified concessions, it’s L’Humanité’s measured tone, principled stance and prole credentials that will be missed from the debate.
This week the Danish Minister for Culture, Mette Bock, nominated the swampy 68km-long border between Denmark and Germany for inclusion on the Unesco List of Intangible Heritage. Remarkably it is a likely contender. It is less than 100 years since the return of Southern Jutland to Danish control following a dispute over the territory during the First World War. Despite this, Bock describes the border region as a “huge inspiration”, due to the success of the diplomacy between the two countries. He argued that it can offer valuable lessons to states with serious or violent border conflicts. If successful, it will join the prestigious ranks of the Intangible List along with Croatian dry-stone walling and the Irish sport of hurling.
With hi-tech production at the heart of its business, Slovenian brand Elan has carved a reputation at the forefront of ski design. Monocle Films heads to the mountains to visit its factory and learn about its past, present and future.
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