The latest developments in Macedonian-Bulgarian relations also affect the work of the joint Commission for Historical and Educational Issues, according to its co-chair Dragi Gjorgiev. He says that there is a tendency for relations between Skopje and Sofia to be attacked at certain periods in order to disrupt some short continuity of a peaceful period.

We cannot remain immune to what is happening in society and all those political upheavals, tensions, misunderstandings, and daily political fights, which occur cyclically in Macedonian-Bulgarian relations, and they undoubtedly affect the work of the Commission. Almost regularly in all those fights and political statements that are made, the Commission is mentioned, history is mentioned, the topics on which the Commission itself is working are mentioned, and all this affects the atmosphere in the commission itself, Gjorgiev told “Voice of America”.

According to him, there is a tendency to disrupt the continuity of the peaceful periods in Macedonian-Bulgarian relations.

Obviously, someone needs it and when those peaceful and good relations last for a certain period and the work goes in the right direction, incidents happen, which obviously, taking into account the history of previous incidents, are done thoughtfully with a pre-directed scenario. And I think this will de-escalate, and the situation will calm down, but again there are forces that will not surprise me, after two months, if the same thing happens on any occasion, Gjorgiev points out.

As for whether a solution can be reached for Goce Delcev, he states that this topic has hardly been discussed seriously in the past year. He believes that in the current conditions of cold relations, with very high tension, it is very difficult for the Commission to work calmly and peacefully on Goce Delcev.

The idea of joint honoring of any person, not only Goce Delcev, is based on calming and relaxing the relations between the two countries, contributing to a better understanding of the two peoples and the two societies.

And that is the basic idea not only of our commission but also of all commissions that work in this way, i.e. in addition to textbooks, they have as their agenda the common honoring of certain persons, around whom there are different views, but they are shared historical persons. At this moment, I don’t think the situation is such that it will enable any solution by the Commission, which will contribute even more to calming the relations and moving them in the right direction. So the political situation, the political relations between the two countries must be at a high level in order for the Commission to achieve some progress, above all in relation to those sensitive topics such as Goce Delcev, says Gjorgiev.

However, Gjorgiev also points to what the Macedonian and Bulgarian historians have so far agreed upon, which is a recommendation for joint veneration between the two countries for Cyril and Methodius, Clement of Ohrid, Naum of Ohrid, and King Samuil. Regarding the recommendations for textbooks, recommendations for the fifth grade in the Bulgarian education system and for the sixth grade in the Macedonian education system have been adopted.

The next meeting of the joint Commission for Historical and Educational Issues is scheduled for February 16 and 17 in Sofia.