site.btaRepublic of North Macedonia Accepts French Proposal, Bulgarian Political Figures React
The Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia adopted a negotiation framework for the country's accession negotiations with the European Union on Saturday, reported MIA. The country's government approved Parliament's conclusions on Sunday and and undertook to continue talks with the European Union in order to unblock the European integration processes. Based on the conclusions, the government in Skopje approved the proposal of the French Presidency from 30 June 2022.
On June 24, the Bulgarian National Assembly mandated the Council of Ministers to approve the proposal of the French Presidency for the Republic of North Macedonia, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions. According to the decision, only if these conditions are met, the National Assembly will expect the Council of Ministers to approve the draft negotiation framework at the same time or after finalizing the Protocol under Art. 12 of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation.
The protocol was signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Teodora Genchovska and Bujar Osmani, on Sunday, a day after Skopje's Parliament adopted the framework for their upcoming EU accession negotiations. The bilateral protocol contains extremely ambitious short-term and long-term measures, which in practice aim to solve many of the open issues, explained the Bulgarian Foreign Minister. It is an integral part of the package of the so-called French proposal together with the negotiating framework and EU Council conclusions.
Various Bulgarian political figures reacted:
GERB leader and former prime minister Boyko Borisov wrote a Facebook post on Saturday: "Congratulations on the wise and responsible decision of the Republic of North Macedonia's Parliament, opening the doors to the start of EU membership negotiations. This is a process that we started together back in 2017, when we signed the Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation and highlighted the common history between our two countries. During the Bulgarian presidency of the EU Council in 2018, we were the ones who brought the topic of enlargement back on the agenda of Europe. I have always believed that the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU is key to peace, understanding and prosperity.
Bulgarian MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk, the European Parliament's permanent rapporteur for the Republic of North Macedonia, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the Parliament in Skopje Saturday wrote the history for the future of the Republic of North Macedonia. " With 68 votes, the French proposal was approved and the doors to the country's membership in the European Union are finally open," Kyuchyuk pointed out. "It's time to move forward!" he stressed.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) leader Mustafa Karadayi commented in a Facebook post on Saturday that the Republic of North Macedonia took a huge historic step on its European path by accepting the proposal of the French presidency. This is a definite step forward on the path to membership in the European Union, he noted. "The MRF's philosophy since the beginning of the 90s has been the membership of the Balkan countries in NATO and the EU in order to have peace, security and stability in the region," said Karadayi.
Vazrazhdane party leader Kostadin Kostadinov said in a press release on Saturday that the adoption of the so-called French proposal by the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia on Saturday was no surprise, "just as it is no surprise that a modified proposal was adopted, the changes of which we were never notified of". Vazrazhdane has already submitted to the National Assembly its proposal to cancel the decision already taken by the Bulgarian Parliament, in view of the fact that there is a discrepancy between the documents voted in Sofia and Skopje. The position of Vazrazhdane is that this is an additional and even more valid reason to have early elections very soon. With a new composition of the National Assembly, there will be a much greater chance for a new decision by the Bulgarian Parliament and for a new opportunity to renegotiate the conditions under which Bulgaria allows the beginning of the negotiation process of the republic of North Macedonia for membership in the European Union, the statement said
Representatives of the VMRO party, led by two of its co-chairs Angel Dzhambazki and Alexandar Sidi, gathered in protest in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, said the VMRO press centre. "The occasion was the upcoming signing of the protocol between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, related to the so-called French proposal," the statement reads.