Pendarovski Believes Modified French Proposal Is Acceptable

For President Stevo Pendarovski, the French proposal to lift the Bulgarian veto and start North Macedonia’s accession negotiations with the EU is acceptable. After the session of the Security Council at which this document was considered, he stated that the decision to accept the proposal would be neither a historic triumph nor a historic debacle. If the government accepts this proposal, according to the president, not only Bulgaria will evaluate the country’s progress, but also the EC, which, according to him, drastically reduces the mechanisms for Sofia to stop the process. “In my opinion, it is a question of a transitional compromise for one of the phases of European integration, for which three elements are essential, and therefore the proposal, in my opinion, at this stage, is acceptable. With the proposal, we lift the Bulgarian blockade and it allows for the formal opening of negotiations after 17 years of waiting, secondly, it enables a screening process, and, thirdly, but by no means, it does not undermine the Macedonian identity, because for the key determinant of the Macedonian language in the proposal, there is a clear wording, and not a footnote,” said Pendarovski. With the modified French proposal, history is not a requirement, he adds. However, he proposed to the Government to come to conclusions that if ever further in the negotiations, Bulgaria encroaches on the nation’s identity, then North Macedonia should immediately stop the negotiations with the European Union. As for the bilateral protocol with Sofia, which has not yet been signed by North Macedonia, and which contains sensitive moments such as hate speech, changing textbooks, monuments, the results of which will be part of the so-called annual reports, Pendarovski believes that in the protocol itself, there is no legal basis for Bulgaria to block the country, and all points, as he said, are a bilateral obligation. As the greatest weakness of the proposal, the head of state assessed the fact that the entry of Bulgarians into the Constitution is required at this stage, because the political division in the country, according to him, in no way guarantees that a two-thirds majority will be provided for such constitutional amendments.