Positive solutions lead to friendship whereas negative ones leave only bitterness, President of North Macedonia said in reply.

The Bulgarian stand on the EU accession of North Macedonia will remain negative – Bulgaria is not against the accession as such, but against the accession talks because Skopje refuses to meet the necessary requirements. The position of Bulgaria was once again confirmed by Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva on Sunday, two days prior to the meeting of the General Affairs Council scheduled for 17 November, at which a decision has to be taken about the possible start of the negotiation process.

Bulgaria will not say “yes” on Tuesday (November 17) even if the rest of the countries vote “for”, the decision cannot be taken at this online meeting, it transpired from Zaharieva’s interview for bTV channel on Sunday.

“Bulgaria has always been friendly to North Macedonia and in spite of hatred to the Bulgarian language persistently incited by the Macedonian authorities we have always held out a helping hand. However, 30 years after the start of democratic changes you cannot want to be a member of the European family, on the one hand, and on the other – to venerate one of the most atrocious dictators of the 20th century – Joseph Broz Tito. Nevertheless, we will continue giving a helping hand. We say “no” to the accession talks, not to the EU membership. We do not believe that they comply either with the requirements for EU accession or with the Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria.

The entire state policy of North Macedonia is still based on hatred to a neighboring country and there is no way for us to say “yes”, Zaharieva said.

Let them self-identify themselves as a nation, but not on the basis of hatred.

For a month now we hear what Skopje refuses to negotiate, while we are negotiating the basic framework and a mutually binding legal document. No one challenges their right for national self-identification, but we do not agree this identification to be based on hatred or stealing the Bulgarian history and denying everything Bulgarian and Bulgaria itself. Considering the beginning they set very soon they may well deny the existence of the Bulgarian state,” she added.

Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the independent state of Macedonia but we will not put up with the fact that their recognition is at the expense of Bulgaria, Zahariava noted.

“Bulgaria is an EU member state and hardly any other member will invest so much efforts in order to help Macedonia work its way up to EU,” the Foreign Minister said. “We are not enemies, we want to help but not at Bulgaria’s expense, she added, and declared that there is no way for two countries which have unresolved issues to sit at the EU round table.

“If Bulgaria turns a blind eye on the fact that North Macedonia sticks to the ideology conceived by Stalin and Tito it would be to the benefit of Moscow,” Zaharieva said further referring to the opinion, according to which when Bulgaria blocks the EU accession of North Macedonia it works in favor of Russia.

As an example, she quoted the fact that the Mayor of Skopje is a member of the ruling party who organized the commemoration ceremony for Joseph Broz Tito while the people who stand for the rapprochement with Bulgaria are accused of treason.

Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev: We have to go on forward

“We have to go forward. Positive solutions lead to friendship while negative ones leave only bitterness. No one has the right to divide two peoples,” PM of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev said later in the day during his visit to Stroumitsa.

Referring to the words of Zaharieva who said that Bulgaria does not block Skopje, but only delays the start of accession talks, Zaev expressed hope that “friendly Bulgaria will keep the Friendship Treaty. “ “If Bulgaria is not content with the fulfillment of the Treaty, it may say “no” 130 times to the 34 EU accession negotiating chapters.”

According to the Macedonian PM, the authorities in his country are prepared to make changes in the textbooks concerning the historical figures on which the joint Bulgarian-Macedonian commission reached consensus.

“The two peoples have common history and past. This is where the Bulgarian and Macedonian peoples sprung from. Both the Bulgarian and the Macedonian languages originate from the South-Slavonic linguistic group. How can it be possible that only Bulgarian or only Macedonian originate from this common source. We have to seek solutions. If they are positive they will be written down in golden letters, if negative – they will leave only bitterness,” Zaev concluded.