We will continue to defend not only history, but respect for the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians – they must receive their clear constitutional guarantees, the Bulgarian president said.
This process is not driven by deadlines, but by results, said President Rumen Radev on the occasion of the talks between Sofia and Skopje. The head of state made this comment to Bulgarian journalists in Brussels, where he arrived to participate in today’s EU-Eastern Partnership summit and tomorrow’s European Council, BTA reported.
We do not give deadlines, we expect results, he added. Any attempts to put pressure on Bulgaria are counterproductive, lead to delays in the process and this should be understood by all, said the President.
Since May, at all the councils I have participated in, I have spoken to all European leaders, to the leaders of the European institutions on the subject of the Republic of Northern Macedonia (RNM). I want to thank them, because for the second time this year, the topic of enlargement, especially for RNM, is off the agenda. Thanks to the efforts of Bulgarian diplomacy, so that our partners finally understood where the real problem is, he added.
We will continue to defend not only history, culture, but respect for the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians – they must receive their clear constitutional guarantees. This is already understood, this is the most important criterion of the Copenhagen criteria – respect for human rights, said the President.
He noted in response to a question that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who will be chairman of the EU Council until July next year, is aware of Bulgaria’s position. I do not expect pressure, said President Radev on this occasion. Whatever the pressure, it’s in history. We have a clear agreement with the President of France. We have to solve other issues together with France – in the field of energy, he added.
Radev explained that defending Bulgaria’s vision was most difficult at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia two months ago. The Council of Slovenia on October 6 was the hardest, then I was alone against everyone. First there was a preparatory attack by the leaders of the European institutions, the head of state noted.
Bulgaria has defended its position, most European partners understand the essence of the problem – it goes far beyond the notions of a historical dispute between two neighboring countries. This is a problem that deeply affects the foundation of the EU itself – these are the values and principles we profess – human rights, non-discrimination, said President Radev.
Pendarovski: The approach of the new Bulgarian Prime Minister is acceptable to me, but not the time limit. He believes that the problem between Sofia and Skopje can be resolved earlier than the planned 6 months.
The President of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, who is visiting Pristina today, said on the issue between Sofia and Skopje that he welcomed the approach of the new Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who said history should not be the only channel. of communication between the two countries, MIA agency told BTA.
For me, the approach of the new Bulgarian Prime Minister is acceptable, who insists that history should not be the only channel through which we, as two neighboring countries, communicate. We are talking about infrastructure, we are talking about energy connectivity, we are talking about the economy and trade, we are talking about European integration, we are talking about human freedoms and rights, we are talking about a pandemic. Of course, not to talk about what happened three or five centuries ago. This is a modern approach that I support, Pendarovski said.
He added, however, that he did not support setting a time limit, citing the six-month deadline. “I think the problem between us can be solved in a much shorter period of time,” Pendarovski said.
At a joint press conference with the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani Pendarovski, he also assessed that if the solution of the issue between the Republic of Northern Macedonia and Bulgaria is delayed, it would not lead to destabilization of the country.
If after some time in the future we do not receive a date for negotiations and if eventually the dispute with Bulgaria is not resolved and we remain in a situation where we will wait in the waiting room of the EU for a long time, I do not believe in such developments, but If this happens, I assure you that neither today there is such data, nor tomorrow there may be such data that would indicate the destabilization of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Pendarovski said in response to a journalist’s question whether extending the start of negotiations could means destabilizing the region and the country.
The president recalled that the country faced a similar situation in 2008, when it was denied NATO membership due to the then problem with Greece.
Ten years later, in 2018, we solved the problem. During these ten years, there was no destabilization of the state. I do not know where these assessments come from and what they are based on, but I know and should know as President of the country that nothing portends that if we wait longer with an unresolved dispute with Bulgaria, or wait longer to start negotiations with the EU will lead to anything and any destabilization initiated by anyone inside or outside. From this aspect, the citizens of our country can be calm, Pendarovski said at a joint press conference with Vyosa Osmani in Pristina.
Pendarovski commented on Kiril Petkov’s interview with the Financial Times, and the Council of Ministers today clarified Kiril Petkov’s thesis on our dispute with Skopje, stated in front of the English-language daily business newspaper.
We stand behind the current position of Bulgaria
Before the Financial Times, where the Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that we stand behind Bulgaria’s current position, but at the same time we propose to improve the mechanism for negotiations with the Republic of Northern Macedonia (RNM) so that they can to study not only the historical aspects of this decision, but also to cover economic, social, investment and all others, Lena Borislavova, head of the political cabinet of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, told reporters at the Council of Ministers. clarified Bulgaria’s position on the topic of RNM membership in the EU.
Borislavova said Prime Minister Petkov’s proposal was that the next six months be used effectively for frequent meetings of various expert groups that could comprehensively address the issue, as it should not be limited to historical aspects. We need to know how to make the best decision at all levels, but this is not a retreat of Bulgaria’s position so far, but only proposals for a more constructive and effective dialogue, Borislavova stressed.
“Let’s see how these negotiations will go, and then we will be able to say whether, if the commitments to the Good Neighborhood Agreement are met, we will be able to move forward,” he said.
Earlier, former Foreign Minister and current GERB-UDF MP Ekaterina Zaharieva criticized Prime Minister Kiril Petkov for his dual stance on Northern Macedonia’s EU membership. However, the coalition partners from the DB and the BSP saw no problem in his words, nor a change in our position on Skopje and its EU membership.