“The proposals of the French Presidency are the best so far, I'm not just talking about Bulgaria - they are the fairest. (...) Let it be clear: we really have progress for a change in the constitution of North Macedonia and the entry of Bulgarians into the document, which I have been insisting on for a long time. It is already accepted for this to happen”.
This was stated today by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev during his visit to Latvia. He stressed that this is not about a Bulgarian minority in our western neighbor, but about the equality of Macedonian Bulgarians, which they deserve and which is required by the Copenhagen criteria.
What did France offer us to let Macedonia join the EU
"For a year now, we have been persistently fighting - both as Bulgaria's representative in the EU and the two caretaker governments - to raise bilateral issues to EU level and a negotiating framework. This is not just a bilateral historical dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, as it appears. These are issues that are undermining the EU's foundations. Finally, after much debate, our European partners have realized that this is the place to address these issues, and our demands are already being addressed in the negotiating framework as an approach," he said.
The head of state said that if the framework position of Bulgaria, adopted in 2019, will be changed in any way, the Council of Ministers, with the expertise of the Foreign Ministry, should update the framework position with its decision and only then send this position, which reflects the decision of the French Presidency, in Parliament - to be approved. According to Radev, "the current approach cannot work":
"This is the way, not the other way around, as it is at the moment, which leads to a blockade and an inability to make a decision. The body that should draft this decision is the Council of Ministers, and the parliament should approve it. That must be known, of course, and not speculated. "
Radev stressed that the condition is to first change the Macedonian constitution by adding and Bulgarians, and only then to start Skopje's negotiations with the EU. "It's already an active approach," he said.
The President called on the Bulgarian Parliament and Government to make an expert opinion on the issue and to make sure that the bilateral protocol to be signed between Bulgaria and North Macedonia sufficiently defends Bulgaria's interests because it must become part of the negotiating framework.
"From now on, all relations will be built on this protocol. This is the key to a fair solution to the issue. One thing is clear - there is absolutely no time at the moment," the president said.
"I cannot accept open calls for political nomadism and change of parties"
Rumen Radev responded to accusations by BSP leader Kornelia Ninova that he was attacking the government along with GERB and DPS: "Have you ever seen me stand by GERB and DPS? This is absurd. GERB's policy. Long before the protests took place, my position on GERB's policy was known. Even before the protests, I took away the trust."
"I cannot accept open calls for political nomadism. People have voted in a certain way and, in my opinion, calls to start this political nomadism in the Bulgarian parliament distort people's votes. I hope the parties attract members with their policies, not leave to go elsewhere. This is my sincere position," the president said.
According to him, many important issues are to be resolved in the coming days and weeks, and the current government and parliament cannot escape them: "This must be clear before there is any talk of a vote on early voting."
The President is of the opinion that the elections are the final and extreme option that will be reached if the blockade of state institutions continues.
Rumen Radev also claims that he has never escaped responsibility so far and that all three cabinets appointed by him have coped with the challenges facing them.
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