The Portuguese proposal relies on the draft-negotiating framework proposed by the European Commission, the paragraph on the Macedonian language to remain as it is – Macedonian language alongside unilateral statement on Bulgaria’s position regarding the matter, Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov said Wednesday.
Commenting on the remarks by Portugal’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, he said state officials yesterday had contacts with representatives of Portugal’s EU presidency, who pointed out that it was ‘completely inappropriate’ and stressed that ‘the statements absolutely doesn’t reflect Lisbon’s position that is in line with the Portuguese proposal.’
Dimitrov also said that they voiced regret over the latest development.
“The Macedonian language issue is vital to us. We don’t have the mandate to even think about negotiating it. We will join Europe as Macedonians speaking Macedonian and we reserve the right to defend it with dignity no matter what statements will come our way today or in the future. For me personally, this statement was rather unfortunate,” Dimitrov told reporters at news conference after presenting the National Programme for Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire (NPAA) 2021-2025.
Asked what the reaction to this statement will be, the top diplomat said in diplomatic communication it is key the affected party to express its position, dismay and to protest. “All of this was done on several occasions yesterday. What we got, which was also confirmed in a brief statement of the Portuguese ambassador to the country, based in Belgrade, is that Portugal will never do anything to jeopardize and harm efforts for finding solution, that it remains committed to its proposal and will not interfere into debates involving cultural issues, identity issues, etc,” Deputy PM Dimitrov said.
He reiterated the government’s position that “Macedonian language is one of the key identity features of the Macedonian people, internationally recognized and codified language with unique characteristics, affirmed under the Prespa Agreement and inscribed in North Macedonia’s UN identification document.”
The draft-negotiating framework of the European Commission, Dimitrov said, includes a paragraph stipulating that the entire European legislation should be translated into Macedonian.
“The country should have enough translators once it joins the bloc. So far, we have translated close to 80,000 pages of the European legislation. At the moment, through the Secretariat for European Affairs, the translation of 16,000 pages is being revised and thousands of pages are being translated,” he stated.