Radev on North Macedonia: Our European Partners Understand the Essence of the ProblemDiplomacy | December 15, 2021, Wednesday // 18:53| views
"At all European councils - since May, I have talked to every European leader on the topic of RN Macedonia. I want to thank them, because for the second time the topic of enlargement, especially for RNM, is off the agenda. Our partners finally understood where the real problem is. We will continue to defend not only history, culture, but respect for the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians. They must receive their clear constitutional guarantees - the most important criterion of the Copenhagen criteria." This was stated by President Rumen Radev to the Bulgarian media in Brussels, where together with the leaders of the EU countries he participated in the "Eastern Partnership" format.
Asked if we were giving any deadlines, Radev said:
"This process is not driven by deadlines. It is driven by results. We do not give deadlines. We expect results and any attempts to put pressure on Bulgaria are counterproductive, they lead to delays in the process and this should be understood by all.
Radev said that French President Emmanuel Macron clearly knows Bulgaria's position.
"So I do not expect pressure. Whatever pressure there is, it is already in history. We have a clear agreement with the President of France. With France we have to resolve energy issues," Radev added.
The president said the worst was on the Council on October 6th in Slovenia.
"Then I was alone against everyone. First there was a preparatory attack by the leaders of the European institutions, then we had a meeting with Merkel and Macron, but Bulgaria defended its position.
Most of our European partners understand the essence of the problem. It goes far beyond the notion of a historic dispute between two neighboring countries. This is a problem that deeply affects the foundations of the EU itself - these are the values and principles we profess - human rights and non-discrimination," he said.
Speaking about the Eastern Partnership meeting, Radev said it was an important tool for expanding dialogue between countries in the region.
"This meeting is taking place against the backdrop of a complicated situation. Despite Belarus' withdrawal in June this year, you know that the problem of human rights and the use of migrant grievances remains there. There is escalation in tensions in and around Ukraine's borders and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has taken human lives and resolving it remains a challenge. Against this background, the Council will adopt today a declaration to deepen cooperation and support in a number of important areas.
The initiative remains a key priority in Bulgarian foreign policy. Not only because of our geographical proximity to the countries of the region, we are connected by historical and spiritual ties, but especially in Moldova and Ukraine we have large Bulgarian historical communities. We need to expand cultural and educational cooperation with them," he added.
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