Our neighbors should be our most fervent supporters because they have the biggest interest in a European, close, predictable North Macedonia. You have to respect the other if you want to be close, and this respect involves identity issues, whereas matters related to Macedonians and the Macedonian language are our own concern, said Deputy PM for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov in Vienna on Thursday.
Deputy PM Dimitrov was quizzed during a joint press conference with Austrian Minister for the EU and Constitution Karoline Edtstadler on his expectations for progress in the settlement of the bilateral issue after the elections in Bulgaria.
“The Parliament in Sofia has been constituted and we need to be patient and see the Government formation. Derailment of the process is not in anyone’s interest – North Macedonia, Bulgaria, the region, the European Union. We will work on this and grow together, there is not much time for the Balkans,” said Dimitrov.
According to him, elections in Bulgaria have shown that societies on the Balkans are sometimes more mature than political forces, considering that the party that put a focus on the Macedonian issue failed to enter the parliament in Sofia.
“It is good that political forces must follow their societies because of the nature of politics and democracy,” noted Dimitrov.
The stakes are high, he added, and I believe that European Bulgaria, European North Macedonia and the region can proclaim a mutual success in the course of this year, because success is a strategic imperative both for the EU and our region in 2021.
“States cannot recognize languages. The issue of languages is one of self-determination and an internal one. Therefore, it is not in line with the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Charter of Fundamental
Rights for a member-state to challenge a European nation, maybe a small nation but an important one, if our language is our language or not in the 21st century. The Macedonian language was an official language in former Yugoslavia, it is recognized in the UN and this is a matter that concerns us only. Friendship involves respect of the other’s dignity. Nevertheless, we will get there,” concluded Dimitrov.