Bulgaria: 10 awkward questions to the government regarding the North Macedonia veto

Bulgaria: 10 awkward questions to the government regarding the North Macedonia veto

Bulgarian website Mediapool published ten awkward questions to the Bulgarian Government regarding the veto against North Macedonia on the commencement of accession negotiations with the EU.

  1. Why did Bulgaria nominate controversial businessman Yordan (Orce) Kamchev as honorary consul in Skopje and thus ended up involved in corruption scandals rocking its southwestern neighbor? First, the government tacitly nominated the richest Macedonian as consul and then withdrew his candidacy without providing any explanation. According to local media, Bulgaria initially tried to “rescue” Kamchev from an investigation, and then even provided him with security.
  2. Why didn’t Bulgaria show a consistent policy and raise the issue of hate speech and theft of history before North Macedonia joined NATO earlier this year? This way, Sofia allowed the unresolved bilateral issues to affect the Alliance. Something that became utterly evident during the discussion of the negotiating framework for North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, which was blocked by Bulgaria.
  3. Why did the government allow the signing of the Neighborhood Agreement with Skopje, which had previously been criticized by experts and MPs for the desired style and lack of enforcement and control mechanisms? Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have enough well-trained experts on North Macedonia to formulate clear positions (including without errors in argumentation)?
  4. How were the members of the Historical Committee elected by the Bulgarian side and why did the government isolate the most moderate historians and public figures from the formation of the Bulgarian position?
  5. Why did the Prime Minister leave the dialogue with Skopje in the hands of the Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov, whose portfolio as Deputy Prime Minister is not foreign policy, and if so, did he not do him a favor for electoral purposes?
  6. Has Bulgaria underestimated the issue, showing inconsistency in policy towards North Macedonia over the past three years, including a deviation in the tone of the ministers and the prime minister?
  7. Why was Bulgaria allowed to find itself in European isolation? Bulgaria expected its demands to be reflected in the negotiating framework of North Macedonia, but this did not happen, although the other Member States were aware of Sofia’s wish. EU partners do not understand Bulgaria’s motives for veto, as Sofia was the main supporter of the region’s European perspective and highlighted it as a priority for the first EU Council presidency in 2018.
  8. Has the Bulgarian government become an “ally” of the pro-Russian opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, which is using bilateral relations against the government of Zoran Zaev and is largely responsible for hate speech against Bulgaria?
  9. Is there a strategy for the Bulgarian government to repair the damage to the confidence and attitude of the ordinary citizens of North Macedonia towards Bulgaria?
  10. Why did Bulgaria allow itself to become “a new Greece” for North Macedonia and Athens to take over the protection of its airspace and order vaccines at European level for it? /ibna

Source: Mediapool