Bulgarian lawmakers on Friday overturned Sofia’s effective veto on the start of EU membership talks in North Macedonia, but insisted on certain conditions.
Four political parties have banded together to secure a parliamentary majority on a proposal by the French Presidency of the Council, which aims to overcome a series of tensions between Sofia and Skopje over the language, history and rights of ethnic Bulgarians in Macedonia. North.
Bulgarian national radio reported that 170 parliamentarians voted in favor and 37 against.
Proponents of the so-called “French proposal” in the Bulgarian parliament see the plan as a way to bring the EU into the process as a guarantor to ensure the parties act as good neighbours.
Imposing certain conditions, Bulgarian lawmakers stressed the need for proper constitutional protection for Bulgarians in North Macedonia and insisted that there would be no assumption that Sofia would recognize Macedonian as a separate language from Bulgarian.
Paradoxically, the Bulgarian reversal is now making life hard for the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, opposed to the compromise led by France.
In an interview with POLITICO on Friday, outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said his Macedonian counterpart Dimitar Kovačevski should also show “courage” and support the deal.
“I know the risk of overthrowing the government is – it’s a big risk,” Petkov said.
“As a politician, you have to decide, what is my purpose here? Is my goal to be stable? Or is my goal to lead the nation – take a step forward – which is not comfortably going there. And I think that’s the decision Dimitar Kovačevski has to make now,” he added.