Foreign Minister Zaharieva: Bulgaria to Support Start of North Macedonia's EU Accession Negotiations Given that Goodneighbourliness Conditions Are Met
October 9 (BTA) - Bulgaria will support the start of the
Republic of North Macedonia's EU accession negotiations, but
Bulgaria will demand that certain goodneighbourliness conditions
are met, which are included in the framework position approved
by Cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina
Zaharieva told journalists at the Council of Ministers on
"What we adopted is that Bulgaria supports the start of
negotiations with the two countries [Albania and North
Macedonia], by underscoring that their separation would be a
mistake that could lead to instability in the region," Zaharieva
Intermediate and ultimate goals during the negotiations process
with North Macedonia are set in the framework position, which
Cabinet adopted on Wednesday. Among the conditions which
Bulgaria will want to see met before the first intergovernmental
conference with North Macedonia is held, in case the European
Council decides to start negotiations (on October 15 at the
level of foreign ministers, and on October 17 at the level of
prime ministers), are for the Republic of North Macedonia to
stop and refrain from conducting a policy, in whichever form,
which supports and encourages claims concerning the so-called
Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, and to unambiguously declare
that it does not have historical and demographic grounds to seek
a minority status.
Bulgaria demands that the Republic of North Macedonia declares
in a note verbale to UN countries that the Treaty with Bulgaria
is being implemented in its entirety when it comes to the
so-called language clause, regardless of the Prespa Agreement.
In addition to that, the Republic of North Macedonia must
activate a process of rehabilitation of the victims of the
Yugoslav communist regime, who were repressed because of their
Bulgarian consciousness. The Republic of North Macedonia also
has to remove texts from signs, memorial plaques and buildings,
which openly instill hatred towards Bulgaria, such as those
containing descriptions like "Bulgarian fascist occupiers".
The framework position also notes that before the first
intergovernmental conference is held, which is to approve the
negotiations framework, Bulgaria will insist on setting clear
criteria for the implementation of the Treaty of Friendship,
Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation, especially when it comes to
the work of the Joint Multidisciplinary Commission of Experts
on Historical and Educational Issues between the two countries.
Special attention is paid to the issues surrounding the
linguistic norm and the use of the full name of the Republic of
A review will be conducted on how these conditions are met and
on the progress of changing literature, history and geography
text books in the Republic of North Macedonia before the second
intergovernmental conference is held, which is to open the first
Bulgaria shall not allow the Republic of North Macedonia's EU
integration to be accompanied by a European legitimation of a
state-sponsored ideology based on anti-Bulgarian sentiments.
The Republic of North Macedonia shall state clearly that its
shortened name has nothing in common with the geographical
region of North Macedonia, part of which falls within Bulgaria's
The framework position will demand that school curricula on the
subjects of history and literature in both countries be
harmonized with the findings of the Joint Multidisciplinary
Commission of Experts on Historical and Educational Issues.
It shall be clear that the linguistic norm, declared as a
constitutional language in the Republic of North Macedonia, is
connected with the changes to the language imposed in the former
Yugoslav republic. No document in the accession process can be
viewed as a recognition by the Bulgarian side of the existence
of a so-called "Macedonian language".
Ekaterina Zaharieva said that the position has been submitted to
Parliament, the President and adopted during a European Affairs
Bulgaria will agree on the Republic of North Macedonia's actual
accession only after it has met all the criteria in the
negotiation chapters, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir
Karakachanov told journalists that according to the Bulgarian
position, this country will not stop North Macedonia from
starting EU accession negotiations, but this is preceded by a
few stages, such as the first and second intergovernmental
conferences. That is why it is clearly stated in Bulgaria's
framework position that the Republic of North Macedonia has to
meet a few conditions before the first intergovernmental
conference is scheduled.
There is another package of conditions that must be met by the
Republic of North Macedonia before the second intergovernmental
conference takes place. "The speed of negotiations with [North]
Macedonia largely depends on their political will to be honest
and not trying to play with us, like they have been doing in the
past two years," Karakachanov said.
The framework position's part pertaining to the negotiation
process with the Republic of Albania says that the process shall
be tied to the progress concerning the future steps for
guaranteeing the rights of the Bulgarian national minority.
"We expect that the rights of the Bulgarian national minority
will be guaranteed to the fullest, including through teaching
the standard Bulgarian language as a mother tongue, without
imposing administrative obstacles, in settlements traditionally
populated by them, such as Golo Bardo, Gora, Prespa, Korce,
Kukes, Elbasan," the Council of Ministers' press release reads.