Parliamentary questions to the European Parliament

September 22, 2007

Mikel Irujo Amezaga - Regarding The Macedonian Minority in Bulgaria

In reference to the question and answer on this issue E-1715/07, Commissionner Frattini states in his answer that "The Commission has no available information on the number of persons belonging to a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria." Therefore I send official numbers from the government of the Republic of Bulgaria. Talking into account that there are official numbers and that the European Commission now is in the possession of these official numbers, following questions emerge:

1. Knowing that there are officially 5071 Macedonians (undervalued in the census of 2001 since a category for etnic Macedonians was not foreseen) living in Bulgaria and knowing that there's is no clear definition for a minority; does the European Commission accept these citizens to define themselves as Macedonians according to the right to self-determination?

2. Is the Commission satisfied with the treatment of this (self-defined) Macedonian minority in Bulgaria?

3. Will the Commission make an inventory of the breaches of the rights of the Macedonians by the Bulgarian Government?

4. Bearing in mind the answer to EFA of the cabinet of Commissioner Olli Rehn (9/11/2006 ENLARG/ A2/FH/vq/D(2006) ) in which is stated: "The Commission expects from every member state of the EU to fully comply with the judgements of the ECHR. It needs to be pointed out that Bulgaria's obligation to execute the judgement has to be assessed by the committee of Ministers (CoM) of the CoE. In theory, the CoM might even one day come to the conclusion that Bulgaria only fullfils its obligations completely when registering Omo Ilinden Pirin as a political party."

Bearing in mind as well that in the CoM meeting of 5-6/06/2007 "invited the Secretariat, in view of these particular problems, rapidly to examine, in co-operation with the Bulgarian authorities and the applicants, the avenues at the applicants' disposal with a view to obtaining the registration of UMO Ilinden - Pirin";

Therefore we want to know if the Commission will use all possible leverages towards Bulgaria in order to have the party registred enabling them to participate in the upcoming local elections in October?

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Answer given by Mr. Frattini
in the name of the Commission

It does not correspond to the Commission to make a statement on the denomination that a certain group od citizens from a Member State decide to call themselves. Also, the definition of - minority - is a competence of the Member States. These Member States have to act in due respect for the fundamental rights, namely the freedom of association as it is stated in the article 11th of the European Convention of Human Rights, and the article 12 of the European Union Chart of Fundamental Rights.

The Commission wihes to underline that directive 2000/43/CE protects every person in the EU against discriminations based on race or ethnic origin. The commision has the mission to verify that this directive is rightfully transposed to the national legislation. The Commission cannot emit a general judgement or to proceed to an inventory in the way wished by the Honourable Parlamentarian. The Commission only can act in cases of Human right violations in the cadre of the application of Communitarian Law.

The Commission remembers that all the Member States have to respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Bulgaria have to implement the deicions of the ECHR of 19th January 2006, - Case of the United Macedonian Organisation Ilinden and others v. Bulgaria. The Commission however states that it cannot intervene in this Member State on a question about the recognition of the political party that your Honourable Parlamentarian is referring to, due to the fact that is not a question of implementation of Communitarian Law.

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