Macedonia should not give up the minority in Bulgaria and demand reciprocity from Sofia
The only correct and dignified solution is for both minorities, the Macedonian in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian in Macedonia - to receive identical rights in accordance with international standards for minority rights. The two minorities should be turned into a bridge of rapprochement, not a cause for conflict. This is how we see our role as part of the solution, not the problem, said in a statement the parties and organizations of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria who met today with the President Stevo Pendarovski.
We are transmitting the announcement in full:
"On January 28, a delegation consisting of 8 representatives of one party and 4 organizations advocating for the rights of Bulgarian citizens with Macedonian consciousness and self-determination (the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria) met with the President of Macedonia Mr. Stevo Pendarovski. At the meeting, they gave him their common written position and presented a series of problems they face, along with numerous examples of systematic discrimination and institutionalized hate speech against Macedonians in Bulgaria. The participants express their satisfaction with the meeting, which was constructive in a positive spirit and gives hope for the beginning of a new, more optimistic tendency.
to the representatives of the Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria for the meeting with the President of Macedonia Mr. Stevo Pendarovski.
We are grateful for the opportunity given to us to present the problems, concerns and expectations of the Macedonians in Bulgaria before the head of state of the Macedonian Republic. For us it is a very rare opportunity and honor!
We represent different organizations that, regardless of some differences in our ideas, are united in representing and protecting the rights and interests of Macedonians in Bulgaria and working within the ideas of the European Convention on Human Rights and the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. We are far from any form of extremism and separatism.
We fully support Macedonia's European integration and we believe that it should be done on an equal and dignified basis without harm to the Macedonian identity.
We sincerely support the good neighborly relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria and we are convinced that in order to be genuine, good-neighborly and lasting, they should be equal and principled, based on goodwill and mutual respect, and not on blackmail and striving for domination, as is the case. unfortunately now by Bulgaria.
That is why we categorically condemn the veto of Bulgaria before the start of negotiations for Macedonia's EU accession, as well as the demands and claims against the Macedonian history, language and culture.
Open issues between the two countries should be resolved through the application of the principle of reciprocity and mutual respect.
As a key problem for us, but also for the relations between the two countries we see that the individual rights of the members of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria are fundamentally violated. The very existence of the minority is categorically officially denied. Macedonian self-awareness and self-determination without any reasonable reason are treated as national treason, anti-state activity and a threat to the unity and territorial integrity of Bulgaria. None of the rights provided by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has been granted to Macedonians regardless of whether it has been ratified by Bulgaria. We do not even have the basic and fundamental right for democracy how to create and act through our parties and organizations, and also those of us who have a second Macedonian citizenship do not have the right to run in elections.. Because of our ethnicity we are a constant object of hate speech, which is never punished and we are stigmatized as enemies of the state. Through all this we are systematically marginalized and excluded from the social and political life of the country in which we live. Our attempts to seek and protect our rights through Bulgarian institutions are constantly rejected and blocked. The Bulgarian authorities refuse to start a dialogue with us on the existing problems despite the regular recommendations to them by the institutions within the Council of Europe and 14 judgments by the European Court of Human Rights. President Radev not only did not accept any of our requests to receive us, but he did not even deserve any response.
These problems have existed for 32 years in democratic Bulgaria. Unfortunately, they have never been officially placed before the Macedonian governments by Sofia. If this issue was resolved as it should have been in 1998. when the Republic of Bulgaria demanded the start of negotiations for EU membership, neither the Macedonian minority, nor Macedonia, today would be in the position they are in.
We are revolted by the demands of Bulgaria Macedonia to give up the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and even to state that such does not exist. Accepting such a scandalous request in any form would mean breaking the link between the Macedonian state and the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and, in essence, high treason.
The only correct and dignified solution is for both minorities - the Macedonian in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian in Macedonia - to receive identical rights in accordance with international standards for minority rights. The two minorities should be turned into a bridge of rapprochement, not a cause for conflict. This is how we see our role - as part of the solution, not the problem.
We plead for an active position of the Macedonian state towards the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. In that regard, Bulgaria is a positive example with its care for the Bulgarians in Macedonia, which can be used by Macedonia.
Macedonia should also seek rehabilitation of Macedonians repressed during the communist era by the Bulgarian state and the opening of the Bulgarian archives, as well as support the enlightenment and research on this topic.
The thesis that advocacy for the rights of the Macedonian minority is interference in the internal affairs of Bulgaria is completely unfounded, because on the one hand human rights are not an exclusive internal issue of any country, and on the other - Bulgaria openly interferes in favor of Bulgarians in Macedonia. That would not be a violation of the unequal good neighborly agreement, because many members of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria also have Macedonian citizenship.
We would like the Macedonian state to maintain active communication with Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria within the internationally accepted standards. We hope that this meeting will turn a new page in the attitude of the Macedonian state towards the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and to start a new positive tradition. You and the representatives of the Macedonian state institutions as well as the Bulgarian ones are always welcome as guests at our public events in Bulgaria.
Present at the meeting were:
Stojan Georgiev - Honorary President of OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN, who spent twice in 4 years in a Bulgarian prison because he is Macedonian. The party has existed for 24 years and is a member of the European Parliamentary Coalition European Free Alliance, but it has existed for only one year as a registered party in Bulgaria and despite a successful work in Strasbourg, it can not regain its registration.
Stojan Gerasimov - President of the Association of Repressed Macedonians in Bulgaria, victims of communist terror, who spent 5 years in prison for his Macedonian self-awareness. The company has existed for 12 years, has received more than 20 dismissals to be registered independently which has a work done in Strasbourg.
Atanas Maznev - President of the Association for Protection of Basic Individual Human Rights and member of the management of OMO "Ilinden" -PIRIN. The company is in the process of being deregistered by a Bulgarian court.
Ivan Gargavelov - President of the Association of Ancient Macedonians, under investigation with the aim of being banned by the Bulgarian police.
Angel Radonov - President of the Macedonian Club for Ethnic Tolerance in Bulgaria, which has existed for 10 years, but despite the work done in Strasbourg, can not get registration.
Darinka Gavrilova Georgieva - representative of women in OMO "Ilinden" -PIRIN
Georgi Mangalov, member of the Central Committee of OMO "Ilinden" -PIRIN