Bulgaria to Block Start of Macedonia EU Accession Talks
Bulgaria will not support setting a starting date of EU accession talks with Macedonia, said Tuesday the office of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev.
The position of both President Plevneliev and Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov is that relations between the two countries at the moment do not mandate such a move.
After meeting Tuesday, Plevneliev and Borisov were resolute that Bulgaria supports Macedonia's EU bid, but that support is conditional on the existence of stable and friendly neighborly relations between the two parties.
As the Bulgarian leaders see that such relations are hampered on the part of Macedonia, they have decided not to support the start of accession negotiations at the upcoming European Council Thursday.
According to the Bulgarian President and PM, authorities in Macedonia have continually failing to abide by and take specific steps on the 1999 declaration for friendly relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Bulgarian senior statesmen also once again brought attention to systematic violations of the rights of Macedonian citizens who have an ethnically Bulgarian identity.
"Macedonia's EU membership perspective will be unlocked not by means of propaganda and PR campaigns, but rather by means of real actions for strengthening friendly relations," said the Bulgarian President's office.
Bulgarian leaders have long complained of what they see as Macedonia's unwillingness to admit share historical heritage and even as attempts to claim part of Bulgaria's culture as Macedonian.
In past months, Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Mladenov, in addition to President Plevneliev, has expressed strong concerns regarding an alleged "anti-Bulgarian campaign" carried out by authorities in Skopje.
After a foreign ministers' meeting in Sofia in mid-November, it surfaced that it is probable that Romania and especially Greece will also not back setting a starting date for accession talks with Macedonia.
Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski has however said that Macedonia expects Bulgaria's and Greece's support for the start of negotiations.
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