(Skopje) Thousands demonstrated in Skopje on Saturday at the call of nationalists against a draft agreement aimed at settling the historic dispute with Bulgaria that has stymied the opening of negotiations to join North Macedonia in the European Union.
Posted yesterday at 5:53 PM.
The rally was supported by the main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, whose leader Hristian Mikoski said: “We don’t need Europe if it is absorbed!”.
“I don’t want to be part of Europe, because I have the right to be Macedonian, I speak Macedonian and fight for my identity and my culture,” he added, at the headline the demonstrators came with Macedonian flags, and banners declaring “No to the European Union” or “Partisans, do not negotiate with Fascists!The cry “betrayal”.
Since 2020, the Bulgarian position has prevented the launch of negotiations with Skopje, but also with Tirana, the two candidates linked by the European Union.
Sofia finally filed her veto on June 24, under certain circumstances.
According to the settlement on the table, which has been prepared under the French presidency of the European Union and has just expired, Skopje should in particular pledge to amend its constitution to include Bulgarians in the recognized ethnic groups and “implement” the 2017 Treaty of Friendship aimed at eliminating the rhetoric The hatred.
North Macedonia has also been invited to review its school programs and open communist police archives that are supposed to show the mistreatment of Bulgarians in this former Yugoslavia.
The issue of language also remains very sensitive, with Sofia considering the Macedonian language as a dialect of Bulgarian, while the two countries dispute historical events and personalities, inherited mainly from the Ottoman past.
The government in Skopje, which protesters demanded to resign, had rejected an earlier French proposal in June, before signaling its willingness to accept another.
Public consultations on its content began without delay.
However, according to local specialists on European issues and the opposition, the draft of the new agreement is not much different from the first.
Prior to this, the route from North Macedonia to the European Union had already been blocked by Greece due to a dispute over its name, the corresponding name for a region in northern Greece.
The country has been a member of NATO since 2020.