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No progress achieved on disputed historical issues between Bulgaria and Republic of North Macedonia

Photo: BGNES-archive

The 11th meeting of the Joint Expert Commission on Historical Issues between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, established in implementation of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation between the two countries, has ended without results. 

The two co-chairs of the commission, Prof. Angel Dimitrov and Prof. Dragi Georgiev, expressed the key differences between historians from Sofia and Skopje, which became the main reason for Bulgaria to block the start of North Macedonia's EU membership talks. According to Prof. Dimitrov, an important step towards clearing up the differences is for historians in North Macedonia to make a self-critical analysis of the country's Yugoslav past. As an example of the contradictions, Prof. Dimitrov pointed out that after the eighth meeting of the Joint Expert Commission, historians from North Macedonia stopped signing the protocols, refusing to accept the Bulgarian interpretation of the term "Macedonian". 

"Blocking the signing of the minutes of the last two meetings calls into question our work", said Prof. Dimitrov. "Without a document that clearly reflects what discussions were held and what decisions were made, things become uncertain and show reluctance to work more efficiently", he added. 

For his part, Prof. Dragi Georgiev described the discussion as multi-layered, but also fruitless. 

The issue remains open until next week, when the Commission will meet again online.


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