The Head of State: The European Integration of the Republic of North Macedonia Should Not Be Carried Out at the Expense of Bulgarian History, Language and Identity
The progress in the work of the Joint Commission of Experts on Historical and Educational Issues between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia is lagging far behind the development of the process for the European integration of our southwest neighbor. This is what President Rumen Radev said at a meeting with the Bulgarian representatives in the Joint Multidisciplinary Commission of Experts on Historical and Educational Issues between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia. The Head of State emphasized that the coming October may prove to be a landmark in the bilateral relations because the Council of the EU may decide to launch the negotiations for the Republic of North Macedonia’s EU membership.
“I would like to thank you for the considerable efforts you put into achieving positive results in fulfilling the Agreement of August 2017. The progress in your work is the basic criterion for its fulfillment,” the President addressed the participants in the commission. The President added that the last meeting of the commission, however, raises concerns.
“If you can provide guarantees within the remaining month that the commission will solve all disputable issues, including events, persons, the revision of textbooks, museum and memorial plaques inscriptions, positions of media – then the Bulgarian government can continue its policy of practically unconditional support for the Republic of North Macedonia’s EU membership,” Rumen Radev said.
The Head of State emphasized that if such guarantees cannot be provided, the government should take urgent measures to draft a new national position with clear requirements and criteria that protect the Bulgarian national interest, which should be explicitly laid down in the negotiation framework of the Republic of North Macedonia as mandatory conditions for membership. The Bulgarian parliament should also be familiarized with this new position.
“I would like to explicitly stress that Bulgaria should continue to support the Republic of North Macedonia’s European integration. I have always insisted that we should be the most active supporters of this cause, however, on clear conditions,” the President said and emphasized that this open, correct and constructive position:
Will be beneficial for the EU, because it will not allow unresolved issues between the neighboring countries to be imported to our European family and Bulgaria will show maturity and responsibility with regard to the Union’s stability.
Will be beneficial for the Republic of North Macedonia itself because it will ensure clear European criteria and sustainability in the process of its European integration.
Will also be beneficial for Bulgaria because this integration should not be carried out at the expense of using Bulgarian history, language and identity as a bargaining chip.
The Bulgarian representatives familiarized the Head of State with what the commission has achieved so far and also with the challenges it is facing.