Zakharieva: Macedonia must acknowledge that its identity and language have Bulgarian roots


“North Macedonia must recognize that its identity and language have Bulgarian roots if it wants to start negotiations with the EU,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told Reuters.

Bulgaria has threatened to block North Macedonia’s path towards European Union membership it the two countries fail to solve this problem, says Zakharieva. Bulgaria is losing patience over what it sees as North Macedonia’s reluctance to implement a friendship treaty the two countries signed in 2017, she adds.

“Our concerns come from the never-ending claims for a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. The acknowledgment of Bulgarian roots would put an end to this,” Zakharieva told Reuters.

If North Macedonia agrees, Zakharieva said Sofia was ready to recognize Macedonian as one of the official languages of its neighbor and acknowledge a Macedonian identity.

“We are not disputing their right for self-determination, neither their right to call their language what they like. We are ready to re-confirm the current realities, but they have to acknowledge the historical truth,” she said.

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