Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva, after yesterday’s five-hours-long meeting with Macedonia’s Ministers of European Integration and Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and Bujar Osmani, at a press briefing revealed the remarks that the Bulgarian side has for support of Macedonia’s opening of negotiations with the European Union.
Bulgaria wants Macedonia to clarify that the imposed name “North Macedonia” does not reflect Macedonian territorial claims on Bulgarian land. On the thorny issue of the Macedonian language, Bulgaria offered two options – that the EU officially refers to it as the “Macedonian language, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of (North) Macedonia” – an explanation used in the 2017 Zaev – Borissov treaty, or as the Macedonian language but with an explanation declaring it as a language derived from the Bulgarian.
Still, “Bulgaria has a bigger problem,” Zakharieva explained, “with the historical figures.” Although an agreement had been reached about some, “they haven’t been publicly announced.”
She said current textbooks and museum exhibits did not reflect the committee’s decisions, so hate speech could not be eliminated as long as these historical figures stayed “only on paper with the committee.”
“This isn’t about the historical committee only,” Zakharieva said. There have been objections about the progress made on Corridor 8, cases of Bulgarian investors being saddled with administrative barriers, reluctance by Macedonia to adhere to the language formula in the agreement.