Bulgarian FM Hopes EU to Approve Bulgaria's Stance on Macedonia
Bulgaria hopes that EU leaders will support Bulgaria's position on the European integration of Macedonia as conditional on good relations with its neighbors, stated Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikolay Mladenov.
"I hope that during Tuesday's European Council on General Affairs, the EU will adopt a decision that will point out the path that Macedonia must walk to advance in its EU accession," stated Mladenov, who is in Brussels for the council.
The two pointed out a perceived lack of constructive stance of authorities in Skopje towards Bulgaria as the reason.
Speaking in Brussels, Mladenov reiterated that Bulgaria's support for its neighbor's EU bid remains in principle, but is conditional on normal relations between the two countries.
"I find it strange that in a country that aspires to be a member of the European family citizens who profess their different ethnicity, Bulgarian or otherwise, to face harassment," said Mladenov.
According to Mladenov, Bulgaria's position regarding the case of Macedonia is "ever more respected in the EU," and the prospects for EU leaders backing a similar stance are good.
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 President Plevneliev and Foreign Affairs Minister Mladenov have upped the rhetoric against a perceived "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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