Macedonia’s plight with the EU continues. First, neighboring Greece blocked its membership negotiations due to the name dispute. Now Bulgaria is taking its turn, Deutsche Welle analyzes the situation in the country.
After two and a half decades of dispute, Skopje agreed to change the previous name of the country (from the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia). This allowed the country to become a NATO member in 2020.
But Bulgaria, which is also trying to block Macedonia’s EU-integrations for a long time, spotted its chance. Sofia strives to force changes to the official history of Macedonia and shape it by its own design. Furthermore, Bulgaria claims that the Macedonian language is not authentic, but a mere dialect of the Bulgarian, Deutsche Welle wrote.
Finally, Bulgaria demands the introduction of the Bulgarian minority in Macedonia, which counts only 3,000 members, to the Macedonian Constitution as a “state-building ethnicity”, while fiercely refusing to acknowledge the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.
The Western politicians’ encouraging speeches and empty promises notwithstanding, international politics continues to toy with Macedonia. With a country that has been waiting to start the EU negotiations longer than any country in the region.
The accession conference of July 2022 marked the formal start of the negotiations, however, due to the Bulgarian blockade, Macedonia won’t really start opening the negotiation chapters until it solves the dispute with its eastern neighbor.