Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | News today: 16

Bulgaria tells Zaev it will block Macedonia’s EU and NATO accession if he mentions the Macedonian language again

karakacanov

Krasimir Karakacanov, leader of the Bulgarian VMRO-BND party who is Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister in Boyko Borisov’s Government, told Zoran Zaev that he needs to stop talking about the existence of a Macedonian language, unless he wants to lose any chance of having Macedonia join EU and NATO. Bulgaria doesn’t recognize the Macedonian people and language as separate from the Bulgarian, and demanded that Macedonia signs a treaty Bulgaria a mechanism to review Macedonian history books and public discourse, as condition to allow our further EU and NATO accession.

– Macedonian langauge is not recognized anywhere as an official language. It’s only considered legitimate at the territory of North Macedonia. Zaev could demand this Bulgarian dialect to be declared as an official foreign language in Bulgaria, which is unacceptable and a provocation, Karakacanov said.

The nationalist Bulgarian politician reacted after Zaev’s statement which also caused anger in Greece. Zaev said that after the Prespa treaty is implemented, Macedonian living in the Aegean Macedonia region in Greece will finally be able to educate their children in Macedonian.

Karakacanov also condemned what was done so far by the joint Macedonian – Bulgarian commission of historians, which was formed under the treaty the two countries signed at the start of the year.

– Macedonian representatives in this commission seek validity for a false version of history. Macedonian lands are Bulgarian and that is a historic fact. I will not allow people with unclear positions and a reverse interpretation of history to be allowed to join EU and NATO on Bulgaria’s expense, and then secretly introduce the Macedonian language there, Karakacanov said. Zaev also insisted that, once Macedonia joins the EU, the Macedonian language will be one of the official languages in the Union.

Karakacanov spoke a day after Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva compared Macedonian national identity with brain washing.

– I don’t think it (the recognition of Macedonia under that name) was a mistake, but a sign of good neighborly and friendly relationship. It will take time before we erase all trace of the brain washing done by former Yugoslavia, when it insisted that Macedonians exist, Zaharieva said.

Zaharieva said this when discussing the work of the commission that should come to joint conclusions on historic issues.

– Bulgaria was the first country which recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name. I explicitly say that the Bulgarian position was principled and remained unchanged through all our Governments so far. After the hate speech coming from the Macedonian side, we conditioned its membership in EU and NATO with the signing of a friendship treaty. Our primary goal is to prevent the distortion of historic events, and not to create hatred between the two countries, Zaharieva said, when members of Parliament pressed her to be more strict in relation to Macedonia.