Following the lead of fellow EU member-state Greece, which imposed its own demands on Macedonia including the forced name change, Bulgaria is demanding that Macedonia and Macedonians rewrite their history, change their identity, declare that they are “originally Bulgarian”, that their language is a “Bulgarian dialect” and completely abandon the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. Moreover, and also contrary to all historical facts, it demands that Macedonia formally accept Bulgaria’s revisionist history that Bulgaria, an ally of Hitler and the occupying power in Macedonia, was “not responsible for the deportation of over 7,000 Macedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp”. If these demands aren’t met, Bulgaria pledged to veto Macedonia’s EU membership bid. EU Spokesperson Ana Pisonero responded:
“The Prespa agreement [with Greece], together with the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria, set a positive example for the region and beyond. It is important that these bilateral agreements continue to be implemented in good faith.”
A country and ethnic group cannot, and must not be expected to, engage with its oppressors and “implement agreements in good faith” that are designed to eradicate their ethnic identity and basic right to self-determination. But the European Union clearly values increasing its membership and global influence over the values, such as human rights and democracy, that itclaims to uphold.
Pro-EU media outlets, such as Politico EU, even described a Bulgarian politician’s speech denying Macedonians’ ethnic identity as “a very long and emotional” one. Politico chose to side with notorious human rights abuser Bulgaria, convicted over a dozen times by the European Court of Human Rights, no less, in its position to deny Macedonians their basic rights to self-determination and self-identification.
Without reservation or condemnation, Reuters published Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Ekaterina Zakharieva’s statement outlining Bulgaria’s chilling policy regarding Macedonians:
“Our concerns come from the never-ending claims for a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. The acknowledgment of Bulgarian roots would put an end to this.”
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International condemns Bulgaria, Greece, and the European Union member-states and media outlets that have chosen to aid these countries in their quest to annihilate the existence of Macedonians’ ethnic identity and basic human rights.
We call on governments, opposition parties, human rights organizations and media outlets truly interested in defending human rights to condemn the EU-enabled pressure tactics imposed on Macedonia and to demand that Bulgaria and Greece be reprimanded for their clear violations of Macedonians’ rights.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. MHRMI demands respect for Macedonia’s name, identity and human rights for oppressed Macedonians in the Balkans.