The President: Ending Discrimination Against Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia Will be a Sign of the Country’s European Maturity
Rumen Radev met with the leadership of the Republic of North Macedonia’s Civic Democratic Union party
Ending discrimination and respecting the rights of Bulgarians on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia will be a sign of the country’s European maturity. Implementing the Copenhagen Criteria is a prerequisite for beginning EU accession talks for the Republic of North Macedonia and I am certain that we can only achieve this with joint efforts, stated President Rumen Radev at a meeting with the leadership of the Civic Democratic Union party of the Republic of North Macedonia held today at the Presidency.
The President described the meeting as a positive step in the development of bilateral relations. He outlined direct dialogue at all levels in order to resolve all open issues between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia as irreplaceable in our south-western neighbour’s efforts at EU accession.
The Head of State highly appraised the contribution of President Stevo Pendarovski and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in recovering bilateral dialogue at the highest level. “It is time for these initial steps to stimulate institutions and political parties in the Republic of North Macedonia to commit to realising the huge potential of bilateral relations and not accumulating new problems,” the President declared.
Rumen Radev emphasised that Bulgaria is most interested in accelerating the European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia and is expecting tangible results in building good neighbouring relations as soon as possible. “More than 120,000 compatriots of ours in the Republic of North Macedonia have Bulgarian passports and they expect Bulgarian institutions to commit much more actively to solving their problems, they expect a much more active and dynamic partnership between our countries,” the President stated. The Head of State once again expressed Bulgaria’s expectations for a sustainable and irreversible end to discrimination against Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia, for leaving behind hate speech in history books, in historical monument inscriptions, in museums and in public media in our south-western neighbour.
The Chairman of the Party, Petar Kolev, pointed out that thousands of citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgarians by origin, are looking forward to the day the country commences EU negotiations, but this cannot occur if the process of discrimination continues. Petar Kolev expressed his expectations for society to work against the strong hate speech not only towards the Republic of Bulgaria, but also towards Bulgarians living in the Republic of North Macedonia.
The Party will work on seeking solutions for a quicker transition through this “turbulent period” in bilateral relations and for the Republic of North Macedonia to be able to commence negotiations with the European Union. Petar Kolev stated that the Party will demand official meetings not only with institutions in Bulgaria, but with the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia to lay out the arguments to their opinion on how to solve the problematic issues.
“We are certain that citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia who identify themselves as Bulgarians can be one of the many opportunities and bridges for overcoming these issues and the possibility for quicker and more dynamic European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia,” Petar Kolev added. He also expressed his gratitude towards the Bulgarian Head of State for the consistent position of “benevolently and sincerely hearing the opinion of Bulgarians living in the Republic of North Macedonia,” on the condition of and perspectives before bilateral relations.