Angel Dimitrov, member of the joint expert commission which Macedonia and Bulgaria formed to go over the history books, school books and public discourse in both countries, announced that the next meeting on February 19th will be used to decide which historic events and persons will be honored jointly by the two countries.

Bulgaria, which considers Macedonians to be ethnic Bulgarians, pushed hard for a treaty under which Macedonia will agree to alter the interpretation of historic events and heroes and to accept that many of them will be celebrated jointly. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has already made a rule out of celebrating events like the anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising, or the birth of Goce Delcev, in Bulgaria, along with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. During the latest visit, Zaev announced that a monument to Colonel Kavarnaliev will be placed in Dojran to commemorate the brutal First World War battle in which Bulgaria and the British expeditionary corps fought over and eventually destroyed the city.

The fact that Goce Delcev was Bulgarian and is part of our emotional attachment to the Macedonian struggle doesn’t take away the right of the Republic of Macedonia to also honor him as her hero. We are not taking him over, Dimitrov said in an interview with the Bulgarian bTV station.

Regarding the medieval Tsar Samuil, Dimitrov said that Macedonian historians in the commission fought against the request to label his kingdom as Bulgarian.

They want have an imaginary state, with many nationalities in it, and that there is no a national stamp on it. This was their attempt to distort historic facts, but it failed, Dimitrov said.

Macedonian historians in the commission, as well as in the parallel commission set up with Greece, have the right to make their own requests and proposals, but given the fact that Bulgaria and Greece hold veto power over Macedonia’s EU accession, so far they haven’t even made a public proposal that would advance the idea of Macedonian nationhood.
Dimitrov said that the upcoming February meeting will show how committed Zaev is to implementing the articles of the agreement he signed with Bulgaria.