“Pure” Macedonian Language? Not in the French Proposal

In the last few days, Macedonian politicians like Pendarovski, Kovacevski, Osmani, and Maricic often state that the Macedonian language is protected by the French proposal. They count this as a key benefit of the French proposal. There is only one problem: their statements are not supported by the text of the French proposal published on the website of the Macedonian government (linked here). The Macedonian language is mentioned only two times in the entire text, and neither mention can be construed as recognition thereof.

Bullet point 3, page 3 says: “Regarding the translations of the acquis into Macedonian, the EU took note of Bulgaria and North Macedonia’s respective unilateral declarations on the Macedonian language.”

What does this mean? This statement proves that the EU noted the Bulgarian position about the Macedonian language, i.e. that Bulgaria does not recognize the existence of a Macedonian language, deeming it a dialect of Bulgarian. It further states that the EU noted (who knows where) the position of the (Government of the Republic of N.) Macedonia regarding the country’s language. This statement IN NO WAY recognizes the Macedonian language. In fact, because of Bulgaria’s privileged role in these negotiations as a member of the EU, we can only assume that the Bulgarian position on the language issue will be favored throughout the negotiations and the Macedonian position will be ignored. Bulgaria will have at least a decade to denigrate the Macedonian language in the European institutions and to advance her malicious interpretation thereof.

Bullet point 22, page 13. North Macedonia will need to produce translations of the acquis into Macedonian in good time before accession, and will need to train sufficient number of translators and interpreters required for the proper functioning of the EU institutions upon its accession.

What does this mean? NOTHING in relation to the language. This sentence only states the practical need of translating the text of the European regulations into the language of the candidate country. In no way can this be interpreted as language recognition. The sentence can be understood as an obligation undertaken by the Government for translation and interpretation, and not as recognition.

In light of the above, the statements by the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and other high government officials about the recognition of the Macedonian language in the negotiating framework are demonstrably false.