site.btaBelgrade University Exhibition Seen as Undermining Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Director for Southeastern Europe, Vanya Andreeva, met with the Charge d'Affaires at the Serbian Embassy in Sofia, Slavica Panic, in connection with an exhibition at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade, entitled "Crimes against the Civilian Population in Serbia under Bulgarian Occupation (1915-1918)", the Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday. Andreeva expressed strong concern over ideas expressed through the exhibition, describing them as aggressive propaganda against Bulgaria and against good neighbourly relations in the region.
Bulgarian media have commented that the exhibition exaggerates historical facts in favour of an ideology of demonizing Bulgaria which has been prominent ever since the late 19th century.
In her conversation with Panic, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry official noted that according to the December 13 EU Council conclusions on enlargement, countries seeking EU membership are expected to make decisive efforts to promote reconciliation and stability in their region, including by rethinking the legacy of the past. In the context of European integration, the EU Council expects that actions which can have a negative impact on good neighbourly relations will be avoided. Serbia, in particular, is supposed to work for strengthening good neighbourly relations and to contribute to stability and reconciliation in the region. Andreeva voiced concern that events such as the exhibition at the University of Belgrade can fuel hate speech against the Bulgarian national minority in Serbia.
Following reports that the exhibition is supported by the Serbian Culture Ministry, Bulgaria expects official information about whether Serbian government institutions are supportive of an event that undermines good neighbourly relations with Bulgaria.