Stano: Bulgarian Document Cannot Alter EU Decision about North Macedonia

Peter Stano, Spokesperson of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell, issued an official reaction in relation to the surfacing of a Bulgarian document which allegedly claims that official Sofia will condition the accession of Macedonia in the EU with the denomination of the Macedonian language. “The EU General Affairs Council unanimously decided few weeks ago to start EU membership negotiations with North Macedonia, and EU’s positions in relation to this matter are clearly defined in the report containing the conclusions of the session this matter was agreed upon. EU member-states have the right to express their disagreements with certain sections of the decisions and conclusion adopted by the Council, but they cannot alter the decision already reached by the Council in any manner,” Stano says in the reaction addressed to MIA. Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovatchev also commented on this issue in an interview for the web portal MKD. “Macedonians live in Macedonia, and they speak Macedonian language. This is the reality, and I can’t and I have no right to dispute the way how you people feel about yourselves. Still, in order to become an EU member, North Macedonia has to overcome certain historical disputes it has with Bulgaria, and for that we need to let the Macedonian-Bulgarian commission do its job, and try to avoid delaying its work as much as possible,” Kovatchev said. The Bulgarian document, which is an annexed note of official Sofia to the EU’s General Affairs Council’s conclusion to allow start of membership talks with Macedonia, sparked controversy in Macedonia, provoking VMRO-DPMNE to accuse the government of an alleged trade with the Macedonian identity and language, while SDSM said that he opposition abuses this document to manipulate the public.