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(DF) President Radev: “Bulgaria Has Always Supported North Macedonia’s Entry in EU but Needs Clear Guarantees for Its Unity, Cultural and Historical Heritage”

November 3 (BTA) – Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said here Tuesday that while Bulgaria has always been supportive of North Macedonia’s entry in the EU, it needs “clear guarantees that Bulgaria’s unity as a nation and its cultural and historical heritage will never be put to question by external factors”. The President was asked about the standoff between Bulgaria and North Macedonia on the sidelines of the Manager of the Year ceremony he attended in Sofia. The head of State said he expects the Bulgarian government to make sure that Chapter 35 of the negotiating framework for North Macedonia’s EU accession incorporates the entire Bulgarian framework position, which was adopted by Parliament a year ago, as clear criteria that must be met throughout the negotiating process. He said, though, that this looks increasingly unrealistic, which leaves only one option: postponing the negotiations until a clear and binding bilateral agreement is reached between Bulgaria and North Macedonia to resolve all bilateral issues. Radev argued that Bulgaria, being a responsible EU member, cannot and should not bring into the EU new unresolved problems. “We cannot lend European legitimacy to hate for Bulgaria. Being a self-respecting nation, Bulgaria cannot accept to see insulting and inadmissible words about itself in school books, museums, monuments and the websites of universities and research organizations three years after the signing of the good neighbourly treaty. We cannot mortgage our national identity,” said the President. He argued that what is being done, which he described as “half-hearted declarations about the language and the name” [of North Macedonia by Bulgaria], addresses only part of the problem, “which goes much deeper” and has to do with “the deep cultural and historical roots of Bulgaria’s national identity and with its national sovereignty”. The President said that he wants to see “a much better agreement – a new treaty or an annex to the existing one, but a clear legally binding document”. Later on Tuesday, Radev will talk on the phone with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and North Macedonia will be one of the matters they will discuss. RY/LN/ //