site.btaForeign Minister Talks with Bulgarians in North Macedonia, Opens Exhibition
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel opened an exhibition in Skopje and met with members of the Bulgarian community in North Macedonia on November 29.
Gabriel said: "Bulgaria has no bilateral problems with the Republic of North Macedonia. Bulgaria is an EU member state and defends the EU principles and values. If North Macedonia wants to become an EU member, it needs to show that membership means responsibility and fulfilled promises. There is a clear understanding in the EU, we want to show that human rights and EU principles should be respected."
She said the two neighbours should work out a "positive agenda" between them.
The diplomat went on to note: "History matters. It should be a subject of discussion between historians and experts because every time that somebody sees a reason to abuse history, it gets politicized and radicalized. This keeps us caught up in a vicious circle."
Gabriel pointed to two important amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act which are to be submitted to the National Assembly in Sofia. The amendments will provide for a special ceremony for granting Bulgarian citizenship, and revocation of Bulgarian citizenship if its holder uses hate speech and has a negative attitude to Bulgaria.
Opening the exhibition, Plovdiv: A City of Mosaics, at the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre (BCIC) in Skopje, Gabriel said she believes in the power of cultural diplomacy. The opening took place a year after the BCIC was moved to its current location in downtown Skopje.
Discussing the theme of the exhibition, the foreign minister said there are three messages encoded in the ancient mosaics of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv: tradition and history, diversity as an inspiration, and knowledge. "Knowing what we have, we bring knowledge to the world, to Europe, to North Macedonia," she said.