Macedonia Enraged by EU Mission Chief's 'Slavomacedonians' Label

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | November 18, 2012, Sunday // 15:39| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Macedonia Enraged by EU Mission Chief's 'Slavomacedonians' Label Aivo Orav, Head of the EU Delegation to Macedonia. Photo by Estonia's Foreign Ministry

Macedonian officials have reacted strongly to a statement by Aivo Orav, Head of the EU Delegation to the country, who has referred to Macedonians as Slavomacodians.

During his speech in the European Parliament, Orav has repeatedly referred to Macedonians as Slavomacedonians, which has been apparently deemed insulting by Macedonian authorities.

Macedonian media believe that Orav was trying to "appease Athens."

"He needs to be ignored, by all, at all levels," Macedonian diplomat Risto Nikovski has commented, as cited by MINA.

"If he refuses to apologize and remains isolated as he most certainly will be, he himself will ask to leave," Nikovski has claimed.

"It would be best for the Macedonian Government to proclaim Mr. Orav (persona non grata) and simply expell him from the country. We unfortunately don't have the capacity to do something like this, which is why foreign diplomats insult us, in our own home, time and time again,"he added, according to the news agency.

Since the early Middle Ages, all the way to the first half of the 20th century, Macedonia and its Slavic population were considered part of the Bulgarian nation not just by Bulgaria but also by its neighbors and the international community. This is why from its National Liberation in 1878 till 1944 Bulgaria waged five wars attempting to unite all of the Bulgarian-populated lands in the Balkans, including Macedonia – after the San Stefano Treaty of March 1878 providing one state for almost all Bulgarian-populated regions was revised three months later by the European Great Powers in the Treaty of Berlin leaving the regions of Thrace and Macedonia out of Bulgaria.

After both World War I and World War II, however, Serbia/Yugoslavia kept control of 40% of the territory of the geographic and historical region of Macedonia, the so called Vardar Macedonia (which in 1991 became the Republic of Macedonia), Greece retained about 50% of the region – the so called Aegean Macedonia, while only 10% of the region – the so called Pirin Macedonia – remained in Bulgaria.

The foundations of the contemporary Macedonian nation were laid in 1943-44 by Yugoslavia's  communists at a special congress that also proclaimed the creation of a Macedonian language and a Macedonian alphabet designed to differentiate the dialects spoken in the region of Macedonia from the Bulgarian language and to underline the creation of a distinct Macedonian national identity.

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