The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) vehemently rejects Bulgaria’s objectionable demands of Macedonia, as a precondition to EU accession.
Krasimir Karakachanov, Bulgaria’s Defense Minister, has stated that Macedonia agreed to change the flag, to change the country’s name, and will also agree to change its history, in return for Bulgaria’s support for its EU accession progress.
The Bulgarian state has also provided an explanatory memorandum to all EU member states diminishing the Macedonian identity and language and further insisting that Macedonia deny the rights of the Macedonian minority living within Bulgaria’s borders.
These types of actions are of deep concern and are reminiscent of an era of European history that should not be repeated. They have astounded Macedonians both within Macedonia and in the diaspora.
At an important juncture in the long-awaited Macedonian EU accession process, it is highly apparent that Bulgaria is engaging in opportunistic political strategizing against the vulnerable Macedonian state, as a means of extracting political concessions. Bulgaria is leveraging everything and anything to chastise the Macedonian people, even on fundamental matters such as language, national identity, and history.
UMD considers that the blatant statements of the Bulgarian government are neither constructive in legitimately advancing the EU negotiations, nor conducive to fostering amicable relations between the two neighboring states. Rather, they damage the credibility and transparency of the EU accession process while also making a mockery of the supposed “friendship” agreement between the two states.
Bulgaria’s aggressive stance towards Macedonia conveniently detracts from significant domestic issues confronting the Borissov government, including widespread corruption, rife organized crime, and declining adherence to democratic processes. The current government is faced with growing protests and daily gatherings of discontented citizens.
The EU’s failure to actively respond to Bulgaria’s brazen undermining of Macedonia’s statehood constitutes compliance with Bulgaria. It should not enable the inappropriate acts of its member state by inaction on its part.
UMD appeals to the EU, in the spirit of democratic principles and respect for nation-states, to immediately condemn Bulgaria for its actions. They have no place in a modern EU that strives to achieve peace and co-operation in the Balkans. Recognizing that Macedonia’s EU accession process to date has been one of the most arduous for a nation-state, the EU is obliged to at least ensure that Macedonia’s remaining path to EU accession is a fair and reasonable one, unburdened by Bulgaria’s vested interests.