By accepting the French proposal to lift the veto on North Macedonia’s EU talks, Bulgaria has only succeeded in having its request to include the Bulgarians in the Constitution accepted before the negotiations start “and not immediately before their finish, as Skopje wanted,” according to an op-ed published in Bulgarian news portal Fakti.bg, transmits news agency MIA. According to the op-ed author, Bulgaria’s “position on the language is not protected, and there are not enough guarantees for the implementation of our requests, especially for the implementation of the 2017 Treaty.” “Then how can we assume that this is good for us?” he asks.
“De facto, this proposal is a ‘cat in a bag’ and only extremely irresponsible nation-nihilists can, based on the available information, claim that it is good and push for its adoption,” he notes.
According to the op-ed, saying that the French proposal was extremely good for Bulgaria was a manipulation by the Bulgarian government. At the moment, the author writes, no information has been shared on what the proposed unilateral declarations would look like for the language and the bilateral protocol on implementing the 2017 Friendship Treaty. The author says this protocol is crucial for Bulgarian interests.
“If in it the Republic of North Macedonia commits to deadlines, specific parameters and mechanisms for monitoring the 2017 Treaty’s implementation, and if this protocol enters the negotiation framework, only then would it be a success for Bulgaria and a European guarantee for Bulgaria’s conditions.”
The Fakti.bg op-ed columnist adds that “the truth is that our interests are not at all fully protected, because there is no explicit inclusion of all the requests from the 4+1 protocol, and in reality only 2 of them — the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia’s Constitution and for limiting discrimination and hate speech (no specifics given). The problem of Skopje’s refusal to objectify history and stop falsifications, changing textbooks and signs, and rehabilitating the victims of communism have not been explicitly mentioned.”
Bulgarian politicians’ claims that “accession negotiations can be stopped at any moment, if the Treaty is not being implemented” are also not true, the author claims. “Theoretically we can veto any negotiation chapter, as long as we have the necessary arguments. However, most chapters have nothing to do with our demands: Customs Union, Economic Policy, Social Policy, Energy, Agriculture, Statistics, Fisheries, Environment, Financial Control, etc.” “In reality, a very small part of our conditions, and even then eventually, will be able to be included only in the chapters of Education and Culture, Regional Policy, Foreign Relations and Fundamental Rights.
“But we will not be able to demand anything specific or essential in the course of the negotiations, if our demands are not explicitly and fully included in the negotiation framework right now,” the op-ed concludes.