The EU called on North Macedonia to Prosecute and Condemn Acts of Hatred against BulgariansSoutheast Europe | December 14, 2022, Wednesday // 12:58| views
The Bulgarian Cultural Center in Bitola after an attack
Bulgaria presented to the General Affairs Council of the EU a declaration on the need for effective prosecution and conviction of hate crimes by the authorities in North Macedonia. The "General Issues" Council has accepted the conclusions of the Bulgarian side.
The topic is part of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, which are a key criterion for progress in the process of joining the European Union, the declaration emphasizes.
The Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Velislava Petrova, expressed serious concern about the increasing number of hate-motivated attacks directed against citizens of North Macedonia with a Bulgarian identity, in connection with which the declaration in question was presented.
The General Affairs Council has accepted the conclusions of the Bulgarian side on the EU enlargement policy, part of which is the submitted declaration.
Many of the key initiatives in this work program also reflect the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe. The Council approved the Joint Declaration of the Council, the EC and the EP on the legislative priorities of the EU for 2023-2024. The leaders of the three European institutions are to sign the Joint Declaration on 15.12.2022.
The move comes after two Bulgarian cultural centers in North Macedonia were attacked just days after North Macedonia and Bulgaria agreed to work to defuse tensions.
In July, an agreement was reached between the two countries that allowed North Macedonia to begin the EU accession process after Skopje agreed to introduce changes to the constitution regarding the change in the status of the Bulgarian minority. But changes to North Macedonia's constitution require a two-thirds majority in parliament, which is currently not possible, which is why there is no progress in the accession process.
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