Bulgaria’s nationalist Deputy PM throws spanner in works about North Macedonia’s EU hopes

Bulgaria’s nationalist Deputy PM throws spanner in works about North Macedonia’s EU hopes

A Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and leader of a nationalist party, Krassimir Karakachanov, has thrown cold water on support for the Republic of North Macedonia’s hopes of EU accession.

Statements by Karakachanov, leader of the nationalist VMRO party, came in response to reported comments by the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, about historical figure Gotse Delchev.

Delchev is a sticking point in attempts by Bulgaria and North Macedonia to reach consensus on the shared history of the two neighbouring countries. A joint commission on historical issues has not reached agreement on how to place Delchev in their common historical narrative.

Karakachanov, responding to a reported statement by Pendarovski that the joint commission has no deadline to decide on Delchev, was in turn reported to have said that Bulgaria need not rush to greenlight EU negotiations on accession to the bloc of the former Yugoslav republic “until all falsifications of history have been cleared up”.

The EU cannot be used to legitimize wrongdoings, while Bulgaria cannot be used in this harsh manner as stepping stone by incumbents in Skopje, Karakachanov said, according to a VMRO media statement.

Bulgarian news agency BTA noted that a European Council meeting is scheduled for October 17, when leaders of the EU member states are to decide on the start of negotiations for North Macedonia’s and Albania’s EU membership. T

This decision requires the support of all EU member states.

The Joint Multidisciplinary Commission between the two countries, which was established as part of the Friendship Treaty, Goodneighbourliness and Co-operation between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, is scheduled to meet on October 14 and 15. The meeting of the European Council – likely to be more preoccupied by Brexit than Balkan squabbles – is scheduled for October 17 and 18./ibna