French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed confidence that a compromise solution has been found to the dispute between North Macedonia and Bulgaria, which could pave the way for the start of Skopje’s accession negotiations with the EU.
“On the subject of North Macedonia’s accession path (to the EU), we continued our consultations with the authorities of North Macedonia and Bulgaria, as our commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkans is to be able to open the first chapters with North Macedonia and Albania. On the basis of these consultations I am convinced that we have found a compromise solution that meets everyone’s sensibilities. In the interest of Bulgaria and North Macedonia, acceptable to all,” Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference after the summit. of NATO in Madrid.
He expressed the certainty that this compromise will be accepted by both sides.
“Bulgaria’s president and prime minister have already confirmed that they accept the proposal. Acceptance will require consultations in Skopje. This solution brings security, predictability and certainty to overcome the differences inherited from the past,” the French president said. .
The government of North Macedonia, in a statement, confirmed that it received a relevant proposal from the French EU presidency on this issue.
“This proposal is a basis for starting broad consultations internally, first within the governing coalition and then with the President of the Republic, the Parliament and the opposition, as well as with civil society and all the involved bodies in the country. As we promised, this decision regarding our future will be taken together, in accordance with the strategic interests of the country and all its citizens,” the government of North Macedonia said in a statement.
European Council President Charles Michel, in a social media post, hailed the efforts of the French EU presidency for an agreement between Skopje and Sofia and spoke of a “solution” that could pave the way for the start of accession negotiations. EU talks with North Macedonia.
“The solution addresses the concerns expressed. We are closer than ever: now is the time to say yes,” Charles Michel added.
The French presidency of the EU, two weeks ago submitted a proposal to resolve the differences between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The proposal was accepted by the Parliament and the government of Bulgaria, while it was rejected by the government of North Macedonia in its “current form”.
The president of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, in his statements a while ago from Madrid, where he participated in the NATO summit, said that the French presidency of the EU (which ends today) submitted an “amended proposal”, which, according to the same is “much better” for North Macedonia, compared to the original proposal, two weeks ago.
For a year and a half, Bulgaria has blocked the start of North Macedonia’s accession negotiations with the EU due to open ethnic, linguistic and historical differences between the two countries, which has provoked strong reactions from Skopje and led to a cooling of their relations. This attitude of Bulgaria “pulls Albania along”, as the position of the EU is that the candidacies of these two countries should proceed together and should not be separated.