BTA News

While Supporting Skopje’s EU Integration, Sofia Insists Bulgarians Should Be Named in North Macedonia Constitution

Bulgaria supports the European perspective of North Macedonia but insists that Bulgarians in North Macedonia should be named in the country’s Constitution, National Assembly Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov told his counterpart Talat Xhaferi in Skopje on Tuesday, as quoted by the press office of the legislature in Sofia.

Zhelyazkov said: “Implementing our agreements and building bridges to enable us to move forward are the only guarantees for our common future. Bulgaria’s position on the development of its bilateral relations with North Macedonia is consistent and based on shared EU values. Bulgaria has no new conditions beyond the mechanism endorsed by all EU member states and Skopje.”

Noting that inter-parliamentary dialogue between Sofia and Skopje is at a high level, the guest said: “I can understand the passion of the ongoing debate on the constitutional changes in North Macedonia.”

Zhelyazkov noted that Bulgaria expects results from its neighbour in fighting hate speech and hate-related crimes. “We need to see effective actions and guarantees that the human rights of the Bulgarian community are respected. Bulgaria is aware that the restoration of trust and the building of a positive atmosphere for our relations require a sincere commitment from both sides.” As positive developments, he cited the Silver Thrace Exhibition and the three-party Trebenista Exhibition.

The Bulgarian parliament leader went on to say that a prompt completion of the transport connectivity projects along Pan-European Corridor 8 will facilitate people-to-people contacts, will contribute to a deepening economic integration among the nations concerned and will bolster collective security on NATO’s southern flank.

Zhelyazkov and Xhaferi reiterated the two countries’ unqualified solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine.