Bulgaria – North Macedonia: No Progress in the Work of the Joint Historical Commission

Politics » DIPLOMACY | May 23, 2022, Monday // 11:42
Bulgaria: Bulgaria – North Macedonia: No Progress in the Work of the Joint Historical Commission

For the last month and a half, there has been no progress in the work of the joint historical commission between Bulgaria and North Macedonia”. This was stated on BNT by the co-chairman of the commission from the Bulgarian side - the historian and diplomat Prof. Angel Dimitrov.

On the Bulgarian side, a proposal was made for a joint celebration of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, but it was not organized.

Government delegations from both countries will today honor the holy brothers in Rome, where the tomb of St. Cyril the Philosopher is. However, the celebrations will take place separately, and a meeting between Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and his North Macedonian counterpart, Dimitar Kovachevski, is planned.

A joint celebration of the memory of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius would not be a precedent, because it has already happened twice”, said Prof. Dimitrov. He reminded that with regard to St. St. Cyril and Methodius an agreement was reached in the historical commission.

"One of the few successes in the work of the commission is that an agreement has been reached: when talking about the holy brothers, to emphasize the role of the Bulgarian state and Bulgarian rulers for the preservation and development not only of writing, but also of literature and Christian culture among the Slavs." - he said.

Three meetings of the Joint Historical Commission were held from February to May. At the first one, an agreement was reached regarding Tsar Samuel that the commission should take into account, in addition to the Bulgarian position, also the position of world medievalist experts, which coincides with the Bulgarian one. Prof. Dimitrov described this as very little progress and stressed that from then on the work was again fruitless.

The problem is that our colleagues are trying not to accept the term ‘common history.’ When you do not accept the existence of a historical phenomenon that is even described in the Good Neighbour Agreement, because they are not talking about ‘common history’ but ‘shared history’, then there is an escape from the desire to make a serious critical analysis of one's own past. And this is the big problem." - pointed out Prof. Angel Dimitrov.

On BNT, he called on the authorities not to allow external pressure, whether there is an attempt or not.

"We must work hard and consistently to explain our position. This is the only way. We must meet somewhere with our colleagues. Bulgaria alone cannot be expected to make concessions and compromises. The catharsis is there and must take place in North Macedonia because a critical analysis of the Yugoslav heritage there has not yet been made." - Prof. Angel Dimitrov emphasized.

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