Bulgarian PM on North Macedonia: We are Preparing a Joint Celebration of Gotse Delchev
“Dimitar Kovachevski has been the Prime Minister of RN Macedonia for a week and has spent 4 of those 8 days with the Bulgarian government. This indicates a desire to get the job done.” This was stated by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, answering questions from members of parliament about the consequences of the two meetings with the Macedonian Prime Minister.
“The ministers who came to Bulgaria were a large number and we have made great progress in most areas. We signed 3 memoranda, which were in many key areas, including Corridor №8. Which has fallen off the list of European projects, if we want to include it, it will happen through joint work,” Petkov said.
He said that while the discussions on economy and infrastructure were going on, the two sides also discussed topics that are important for Bulgaria - the rights of Bulgarians in the RNM and the framework position.
“Kovachevski said he saw no problem with including Bulgarians in the RNM Constitution. He did not commit to a timeframe. We are no longer talking about 5+1, but about 4+1. That in itself is progress,” he said.
“Kovachevski said that Bulgarians will enter the Constitution like Albanians. We are currently discussing the deadline and this is part of the discussions. This will be a fact and Bulgarians in the RNM will have equal rights,” he added.
According to him, many declarations have been made by both sides, but the real work has not been done.
“We organized a calendar for meetings every 7 days. I am glad that even the historical commission has confirmed that they will have three meetings in the coming months. I do not intend to change any members of the Historical Commission. I think we have done a good job for these two weeks,” Petkov said.
“The historical commission already has some prepared texts. We decided to see what are the points and arguments that the historical commission has already agreed on. I really assure you that we will not change people there, because I think they are doing a good job. There is progress in the Historical Commission, we will use it and make it official,” he said.
“For February 4, we are preparing a joint celebration with RN Macedonia for Gotse Delchev on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth,” the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that our partners do not understand us when it comes to a bilateral issue. For this reason, Bulgaria has decided to rely on understandable principles such as discrimination against Macedonian citizens with Bulgarian identity and hate speech against Bulgaria.
“We have seen that when it comes to this, Europeans are beginning to understand us. We want these common principles to be respected by all, including countries that want to become members of the union. Let's remove discrimination as a European principle towards Bulgarians who are in the RNM,” said Prime Minister Petkov.
Petkov focuses on economic ties as a long-term guarantor of good neighborliness. As the focus will be not only on what we have not understood.
“If we build the train line, if our businesses really work, their cooperation will be much longer than the political cycles,” Petkov said.
Petkov focused on transport and infrastructure connections
“In March, we hope the Skopje-Sofia airline to be functional. There is a very short deadline for that. We hope that 13 km that have not been built towards Klepalo will happen this year. So we will have another open border crossing. That will be a huge priority for us,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the European Commission would use funds to support the railway to happen as soon as possible.
“The EC is ready to support the railway project because it is strategic. According to them, this is a good neighborly option, as well as a green project,” Petkov said.
According to him, there is a possibility to shorten the term of construction of the line and it will not be 2027. He promised that we will use European money for it without costing the Bulgarian taxpayer anything.
“This government would not open the door on the topic of the Macedonian minority, I would not even comment on it,” Petkov said. He promised not to succumb to provocations. According to him, OMO Ilinden is a provocation to the new Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski
“The best thing for Bulgaria is to have good neighborliness, to have open borders, for RN Macedonia to be a democratic country, to get rid of corruption and to have access to EU funds and for Bulgarians to be protected there. This is the long-term strategy we are fighting for, but I agree - this should not be done by ignoring Bulgarian interests,” said the Prime Minister.
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