In addition to the veto for the start of the EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia, Bulgaria has demanded that another paragraph related to history is added, which is unacceptable for the Union member-states. Therefore, the adoption of the conclusions for all countries of the Western Balkans is up in the air, MIA reports from Brussels.
Diplomats have told MIA that a decision to take the discussion on the enlargement and Albania’s negotiating framework off the table was made due to the fact that Bulgaria demands the final conclusions on North Macedonia to incorporate a paragraph dating from June 2018 that read “this should put an effective end to any claims based on misinterpretation of history”.
The paragraph is part of the Council conclusions after the signing of the Friendship Treaty and the Prespa Agreement, but majority of member-states believe there is no sense in imposing the same sentence to North Macedonia two years later, say diplomats.
The concession which the EU is prepared to make is a similar sentence related to “misinterpretation of history”, which should be there as a general observation for all countries of the Western Balkans and refer to regional reconciliation, but not specific for the paragraph on North Macedonia.
On the other hand, Bulgaria believes that since the sentence had already been used in prior conclusions, it could be repeated.
Member-states made efforts to harmonize the text over the past two days, but Sofia did not back down, resulting in a decision for complete suspension of the enlargement discussion.
The meeting of the EU Ambassadors is ongoing but the enlargement issue is not expected to return to the table.
Meanwhile, discussion on the negotiating framework with Albania has also been taken off the table. Albania has better chances for adoption of the negotiating framework by the end of the year but without scheduling the intergovernmental conference, because the country would have to meet additional conditions and wait for the green light from the European Commission.
“All options are on the table – withdrawal of the conclusions on enlargement, the Albania framework, withdrawal of one or keeping both. Informal talks are also taking place,” says Brussels.