Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sofia to impede Skopje’s Euro intentions?

The Bulgarian authorities submitted on 5 May a protest note in relation to the incident with the Ambassador to Skopje, Ivan Petkov.

On Friday, the Bulgarian Ambassador and his delegation were attacked and not admitted to the grave of the revolutionary Gotse Delchev, in order to bring flowers and commemorate the 109 anniversary of his death, a long-standing tradition of the Bulgarian representatives in Skopje.

The president of the country, Rosen Plevneliev, identified the incident as ‘inadmissible’. In addition, he also said that Bulgaria welcomed and would support the European aspirations of every state and that Bulgaria ‘will work for Macedonia's accession to the European Union’.

However, in turn, the former Yugoslav republic and its people had to show that they also support. Furthermore, the president stated that ‘if any country wants to be a member of this family, it must show by deeds not just words that it likes the other countries’.

The minister of foreign affairs of Bulgaria, Nikolay Mladenov, also named the act ‘inadmissible’ and added that it was ‘in conflict with the European principles and norms of respect for the memory of individuals who contributed to the freedom and dignity of a nation’. Mladenov also expressed hope that this incident would remain an isolated case because ‘ the ensuring of smooth celebration of historical dates and events is a sign of acceptance of European values ​​and the desire to develop good neighbourly relations in the region - the main condition for the adoption of EU countries’.

The Bulgarian prime minister, Boyko Borisov, said that Skopje ‘probably does not realize how much support they need from Bulgaria for their European membership’ and that ‘to hinder the country in its European aspirations would be a historical mistake’ because of the close cultural and historical ties between the two countries and their people.

It seems, however, that besides the Bulgarian authorities’ intention to leave behind the incident as soon as possible for the common brighter future of the both nations, the issue will not remain without a reaction on European level, either. The Bulgarian MEP, Andrey Kovatchev, issued a statement in which he expressed his deep disappointment of the action. The Head of Bulgarian EPP Delegation mention that what happened ‘did not correspond to the European spirit’. Moreover, Kovatchev also said that it was time for Skopje to put an end to the incitement to hatred against Bulgaria which was an unacceptable and retrograde practice from the time of Tito, Stalin and Georgi Dimitrov and which continued to hold hostage the European future of the country.

The Bulgarian MEP planned to deliver a speech during this week’s EP Plenary in order to inform the MEPs about the case.

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