Skopje, 7 February 2022 (MIA) – Instead of being a leader in the European integration of North Macedonia, Bulgaria has no interest in surrounding the neighboring country with a new Berlin Wall, professor Ivo Indjov, an expert in political communications, tells Euractiv.
According to him, Bulgaria cannot afford to block its western neighbour for a very long time because this will generate a new wave of anti-Bulgarianism in Macedonian society.
He says Bulgarian PM Kiril Petkov is right that a de-conflicting atmosphere can be created by intensifying economic cooperation.
Historian Stefan Dechev believes that foreign policy should be conducted by the government in Sofia.
He agrees with PM Petkov that Bulgaria is late with its active approach toward North Macedonia.
“The only problem I see is that the government is not using the media in the best way to explain its policy,” he says.
In the Euractiv column “The Berlin wall is yet to fall for Skopje”, journalist Emilia Mancheva says Petkov is trying to change the approach in an attempt to make up for the lost time, in his words, 30 years wasted. He went to Skopje immediately after the swearing-in of the new Macedonian cabinet. A few days later, the visit was returned in the form of a joint meeting of the two governments in Sofia.
At the same time, Sofia will try to intensify the dialogue with EU countries that do not understand its veto on North Macedonia.
“In the absence of policy, the media relay tough rhetoric – for example, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, after the meeting of Pendarovski with representatives of OMO linden. In Bulgaria, this organisation was registered as a party in 1999, but the registration was revoked a year later. Radev called them people who profess “separatist attitudes and claims to a minority” – it is for these reasons that the organisation was declared unconstitutional. However, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) does not see a threat to Bulgaria’s national security in OMO Ilinden and insisted that it be registered, recalling a basic EU value – the right to free self-determination. Bulgaria has consistently ignored ECtHR decisions on this topic, and the organisation is still considered as a risk to territorial integrity,” reads the text.
Unlike the president, it adds, the prime minister has ignored the topic of ‘OMO Ilinden’. His emancipation from Radev, his former mentor, goes through a big test: the fall of the Berlin Wall for Skopje. If he is succeeds, this will not bring him glory – it will be already a success if he is not declared a “national traitor”.