EC takes a principled stand on Macedonian language, says Dimitrov

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It is important that the European Commission takes a principled stand on the Macedonian language issue, said Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov. Macedonian language was last mentioned in an EC document in 2005, he added at Friday’s press conference.

In regards to the MKD and MK code and the announcements for problematization of its use by Greece, Dimitrov said that this is an issue that is part of the balance of the Prespa Agreement.

“The balance of all elements in the Prespa Agreement was achieved in a long negotiation process and the construction of the agreement is such that changing one element means distancing from difficulty achieved balance. According to the final agreement, all elements are mandatory for both parties and the use of MKD or MK code is obligatory for all uses except for vehicle registration plates,” Dimitrov said.

He also noted that the Prespa Agreement is implemented to a large extent, especially for major issues. Issues that have stagnated will be discussed. The Prespa Agreement closed all issues except for commercial names, trademarks and brand names and will be resolved by a mutually agreed solution.

The working groups of North Macedonia and Greece, including the group working on opening Markova Noga border crossing point, have postponed their meetings due to the pandemic, but things are expected to accelerate once working conditions return to normal.

“According to the analysis all the work for putting this border crossing point into operation can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years. Markova Noga border crossing point as well as the Prespa Forum Center will revive this region,” Dimitrov said.

However, a document was published in April stating that Macedonia would have to forget about the “Macedonian minority in Bulgaria” and the “Macedonian language” and use only the “official language of RNM”, and would have to work quickly with the Commission on Historical Issues, if it wants to continue negotiations with the EU. Then Minister Dimitrov said that in this statement there were many “unilateral conditions” that are contrary to the Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighborliness.

This statement of the Republic of Bulgaria became part of the summary of the EU enlargement conclusion and the date for negotiations for Macedonia and Albania. With this, Bulgaria conditions the holding of an intergovernmental conference on the final definition of the negotiating package for the start of negotiations with Macedonia and Albania.

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