The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in its decision on the implementation of the judgments in the cases OMO Ilinden and others against Bulgaria, expresses its deep concern that more than 15 years after the verdict for this group, the associations that aim to “win “recognition of the Macedonian minority” has been regularly denied registration, which seems, at least in part, to be a bigger problem of disapproval than their goals.
The Committee urges the Bulgarian authorities to provide information on these matters by 1 December 2021.
In its decision, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in the cases OMO Ilinden and others v. Bulgaria, first reminds that this group of cases refers to the unjustified refusal by the courts, between 1999 and 2015, to register associations that have for to gain recognition of the “Macedonian minority in Bulgaria”, refusals based on consideration of national security, protection of public order and the rights of others (presumed separatist ideas) and a constitutional ban on associations pursuing political goals, as well as non-compliance with formal legal requirements (violations of Article 11).
The Committee of Ministers in its decision expresses its deep concern that, despite the adoption of Interim Resolution CM/ResDH (2020) 197 in the final examination of these cases, the latest registration applications initiated by applicants’ associations reveal new problems with a seemingly inconsistent application of formal legal requirements or rely on grounds related to the goals of the associations they seek, an approach that has been repeatedly criticized by the European Court of Justice.
Furthermore, the Committee of Ministers expresses its deep concern that more than 15 years after the ruling on this group, associations aiming to “gain recognition of the Macedonian minority” have been regularly denied registration, which seems, at least in part, that there is a bigger problem than disapproving of their goals.