North Macedonia: EU Annual Progress Report to be published Thursday with or without the amendment against Bulgaria

North Macedonia: EU Annual Progress Report to be published Thursday with or without the amendment against Bulgaria

Tomorrow, the European Parliament (EC) will discuss and vote on the annual report on the Republic of North Macedonia, to which the Greens and Socialists have proposed amendments, which refer to the inappropriate and provocative behaviour of the Bulgarian authorities.

The amendment accuses Bulgarian government officials of making provocative statements on historical issues affecting North Macedonia, and urges Bulgarian authorities not to make such statements despite the ongoing election campaign in Bulgaria.

The proposal was made by the four MEPs Tonino Picula (Croatia), Tanja Fajon (Slovenia), Andreas Schieder (Austria) and Marek Belka (Poland) belonging to the Socialist Eurogroup and the Greens. The amendment states that it “condemns the recent provocative statements by the representatives of the Bulgarian Government on historical issues affecting North Macedonia, which is contrary to the spirit of the Good Neighbourliness Agreement with Bulgaria, and calls on the Bulgarian authorities to refrain from such statements, despite the current election campaign in Bulgaria”. At the same time, a second amendment welcomes the mature and balanced response of the representatives of the Government of North Macedonia to these challenges.

The Bulgarian MEPs have announced that they will vote against the amendments proposed by the Socialists and the Greens in the Progress Report on North Macedonia, which, in their opinion, contain unacceptable objections to Bulgaria.

MEP Adrey Kovachev said that the EPP in solidarity with Bulgaria supported Bulgaria and tabled two amendments on the lack of progress in implementing the previous European Parliament recommendations on discrimination against citizens who openly express their Bulgarian and/or identity, strongly encouraging the authorities and civil society to take appropriate measures for historical reconciliation in order to bridge differences between and within different national and ethnic groups, including citizens of Bulgarian descent.

MEP Angel Dzambaski of the Conservative and Reformist Group says “the scandalous corrections made by the Greens and the Socialists were made at the last minute and what is even more scandalous that the chairman of the Party of European Socialists is Sergey Stanic is the Bulgarian representative in the EP”.

This party proposes a scandalous amendment where “the EP must oppose certain government leaders and officials in Sofia”. This refers to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov, who is a historian and president of VMRO. It is waging a completely irreconcilable battle against the historical forgeries spread by the forgers of Skopje”, Dzambaski said, among other things.

The Bulgarian Socialist delegation to the European Parliament reacted strongly to what was said about their intervention in the forthcoming Report on the Republic of North Macedonia, after Krasimir Karakachanov’s VMRO accused the Socialists of “making a national treacherous amendment” to the vote, in the midst of their country’s election campaign, stating that a particular political force is once again using an arsenal of lies and slanderous speculations and cases and undermining Bulgaria’s power in the EU for its own benefit, its political survival.

“Exceeding the parliamentary threshold may be a political goal, but it cannot serve as an excuse for abusing the Bulgarian national interest. The publication of maps and inappropriate statements may increase the rates, but it makes Bulgaria’s general position in Europe unacceptable. Due to such events, our European partners do not understand the behaviour of our country. Therefore, we do not receive support, but new resolutions”, said a statement from the Bulgarian Socialist Delegation to the EP, adding that he would not support the amendment because it did not fully reflect the historical and political context of the Balkans.

Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Iotova said yesterday that MEPs were preparing an unacceptable amendment to the resolution on the Republic of North Macedonia. “The amendment is directed against Bulgaria. It is unprecedented that such a document contains a rebuke in a current Member State”, Iotova wrote on her Facebook profile.

She called on her former colleagues in the Socialist Group and the Democrats in the EP to withdraw the amendment.

“The language of hatred and provocative statements, as well as the suppression of the rights of people who identify as Bulgarians is a trademark of the Republic of North Macedonia. The prepared amendment once again confirms the failure of the Bulgarian state to explain to its European partners its position on the Republic of North Macedonia”, Iotova said.

Although of an advisory nature only, the EP progress reports on the candidate countries reflect the inclination of the various political forces in the European Parliament.

Earlier yesterday, on the occasion of frequent hate speech and discrimination in North Macedonia, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said that Sofia expects Skopje to defend the right of every citizen to free self-determination.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva summoned the Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of North Macedonia in Sofia Vladimir Krastevski for talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was attended by the Deputy Foreign Minister and the Director-General of Southeastern Europe, Iva Kruleva, where she expressed her the disappointed with the big negative campaign in the Republic of North Macedonia against the representative of Skopje in Eurovision 2021, Vasil Garvanliev”./ibna