BRUSSELS – Bulgaria blocked the beginning of already long-delayed European Union accession talks with North Macedonia on Tuesday due to disputes over historical past and language.
Following a gathering of European affairs ministers, German minister Michael Roth stated Bulgaria could not comply with the beginning of negotiations due to two necessary points. Unanimity from all 27 member states was required.
“They must be clarified for the negotiation framework to be adopted,” stated Roth, whose nation at present holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council. “Using the brief model of the identify of the Republic of North Macedonia, and secondly the reference to the Macedonian language.”
North Macedonia utilized for EU membership in 2004 and acquired a constructive opinion from the European Fee a 12 months later. After Skopje and Athens settled a virtually three decade-long dispute over Macedonia’s identify in a transfer that noticed the small nation renamed North Macedonia, the bloc’s leaders agreed to formal accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia in March.
However Bulgaria now insists its neighbor ought to acknowledge that its language and nation have Bulgarian roots.
Roth stated he nonetheless hopes that the international locations will be capable to discover a compromise earlier than the top of the German presidency on Dec. 31. The official launch of the accession talks have been set to start out in December.
“With goodwill and braveness we must always handle to get this carried out, and each international locations have proven braveness over the past 12 months,” Roth stated. “The Western Balkans want a transparent sign.”
Western Balkan international locations are at completely different levels of EU membership talks: Serbia and Montenegro have already began negotiating some chapters of the ultimate deal. Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina have signed the Stabilization and Affiliation Settlement, step one on the trail.
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