Analysis 14 Jul 17

Macedonia-Bulgaria Treaty Meets Suspicion in Both Countries

As Macedonia and Bulgaria ready to sign a historic friendship treaty, opponents of the deal in both countries are accusing their governments of betraying vital national interests.

Maria Cheresheva, Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Sofia, Skopje
Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev [left] and Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov [right] in Sofia. Photo: MIA

As the announced date of the signing of the friendship treaty between Macedonia and Bulgaria - August 2 - draws near, both governments have been accused by their critics of betraying their respective national interests.

Macedonia’s opposition right-wing VMRO DPMNE party has said it suspects that the treaty, which has not yet been made public, will undermine the country’s identity.

In a letter sent this week to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, MPs from the party demanded a public debate on the agreement.

“We demand that the government informs MPs and makes effort to persuade us that the treaty is good for Macedonia,” VMRO DPMNE MP and former Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said, calling for a closed parliamentary session at the least.

The party, and media close to it, say they fear the agreement endorses a hidden Bulgarian agenda, which is to negate the existence of the Macedonian language and prohibit Macedonia from demanding greater rights for the Macedonian minority there.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov faced similar accusations from the main opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, known for its pro-Russian affiliation, which has also accused him of betrayal.

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