Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva announced on October 9 some of the conditions that Sofia is putting to Skopje to support the Republic of North Macedonia in its bid for starting European Union membership negotiations.
The points touch on various parts of history that have been highly sensitive for decades, and remain so.
Bulgaria’s demands include terminating any claim by the Republic of North Macedonia of a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.
Another is the removal of signs that are anti-Bulgarian, such as references to “Bulgarian fascist occupiers”.
As part of the then-Yugoslavia, today’s North Macedonia was under Bulgarian administration at the time the country was part of Hitler’s Axis. Under that administration, more than 11 000 Jews were deported from the so-called “new lands” and were mass-murdered at the Nazi Treblinka death camp.
Bulgaria is also calling for a stop to hate speech and anti-Bulgarian campaigns by state-funded organisations and media in North Macedonia.
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(Photo of Zaharieva: Bulgarian Foreign Ministry)
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