EU Parliament 'Calls on Albania to Recognize Bulgarian Minority'

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | February 2, 2017, Thursday // 12:35
Bulgaria: EU Parliament 'Calls on Albania to Recognize Bulgarian Minority' File photo, EPA/BGNES

The European Parliament is calling for the first time on Albania to recognize the Bulgarian community living in the country as a minority, EPP/GERB MEP Andrey Kovatchev has said.

In a press statement, Kovatchev cites a draft report prepared by the Parliament that recommends for "the rights of people of ethnic Bulgarian origin in the areas of Prespa, Golo Bardo and Gora to be included into the legislation and safeguarded in practice."

Kovatchev's estimates, which roughly coincide with unofficial ones from different Bulgarian sources, suggest "between 50 000 and 10 000" ethnic Bulgarians live in Albania.

Other recommendations include a call on authorities to speed up the construction of the Tirana-Skopje motorway as part of Corridor VIII, which is "in the interest of Bulgaria," Kovatchev notes.

The report will be put to a vote during the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg this month.

Albania now recognizes Greek, Macedonian, and Montenegrin minorities.

In the Gora region in particular, some historians have referred to the cross-border Slavic-speaking groups living there as "Gorani", whose identity is a matter of disputes between Albanians, Kosovars, Macedonians and Bulgarians - but also among the Gorani themselves.

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Tags: Albania, Corridor VIII, Andrey Kovatchev, Bulgarian minority, EPP, GERB, European parliament
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