President Radev: North Macedonia systematically discriminates Bulgarians

Politics | May 16, 2023, Tuesday // 17:35|  views

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev

The Head of State, Rumen Radev, expressed concern to the Commissioner for Neighborhood Affairs and EU Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, about the lack of progress on the issue of changing the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia and the inclusion of Bulgarians as a constituent part of the nation-building peoples. Radev met with Varhelyi at "Dondukov" 2 street, announced the office of the president.

"The inclusion of the Bulgarians in the Constitution is a mandatory condition for the Republic of North Macedonia to start negotiations on joining the EU. The RNM claim that they are working on the text for the inclusion of Bulgarians in the basic law, but personally I have not even seen a draft to amend their basic law", Vice President Iliana Yotova said earlier this month.

"Only through the observance of human rights and the principles of good neighborliness can the Republic of North Macedonia achieve progress in the process of European integration. We are witnessing increasing systematic discrimination, police, administrative and judicial arbitrariness towards Bulgarian associations, increasing crimes by hatred against Bulgarians and people with Bulgarian identity in the Republic of North Macedonia," said Radev.

The President noted the systematic pressure and encroachments on Bulgarians and Bulgarian clubs in the RNM in recent months, as well as the adoption of a law with retroactive effect on foundations and civil associations, on the basis of which only two Bulgarian clubs were closed out of 17,000 non-governmental organizations in the country.

"Bulgaria highly values the active work and rational approach of the European Commission and personally of the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement to speed up the process of European integration of the countries of the Western Balkans, which is particularly important for guaranteeing the stability and security of Europe", the president pointed out and added that it was as a result of his fruitful meetings with Commissioner Varhelyi and the active joint work that the negotiation framework was developed, which opened the way for the RNM to the EU, while at the same time guaranteeing the protection of the rights of Bulgarians in the country and the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage.

"Bulgaria highly appreciates the reaction of the European institutions and the sharp condemnation of North Macedonia's refusal on May 6 to admit MEP Andrey Kovachev to its territory", the head of state said.

"We expect such reactions not only when the rights of members of the European Parliament are affected, but also of ordinary European citizens, citizens of the RNM with Bulgarian identity," he added.

The Commissioner expressed the European Commission's understanding of the importance of the open issues between Bulgaria and the RNM and pointed out that the acceleration of the EU enlargement process with the countries of the Western Balkans can only be achieved if it is acceptable to all countries. Varhelyi also stated that the Copenhagen criteria are clearly spelled out and unambiguous and the EC will continue to monitor their implementation.

Oliver Varhelyi is visiting Bulgaria to participate in the "EU meets the Balkans" forum, which this year is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first enlargement of the EU. The new members from the Balkans will bring opportunities to the European Union, the European Commissioner said earlier today.

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Tags: Varhelyi, north macedonia, Bulgarians, Radev


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