EU Fails National Minorities in Bulgaria and Greece

October 30, 2006

Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada -

Press Release

"Macedonians should be shot dead when walking the streets". Apparently the EU finds statements like this acceptable when they come from politicians from EU, or soon-to-be EU, countries. Bulgarian municipal councillor, Veselin Danov, recently made this statement when referring to Macedonian minority party OMO Ilinden PIRIN. (For background information please see MHRMI's press release of September 19, 2006, appended below.)

The EU has a chance to effect positive change in Bulgaria's repressive political system but chooses instead to turn a blind eye. Human rights groups should not have to implore the EU to stand up for basic European values that the EU itself claims to uphold. According to Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

  1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
  2. Within the scope of application of the Treaty establishing the European Community and of the Treaty on European Union, and without prejudice to the special provisions of those Treaties, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.
Long-time EU member-states also oppress their minorities without fear of repercussions. In an interview for the Macedonian daily newspaper Dnevnik, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated "I am proud of the capacity of Greek democracy. All citizens of Greece have equal rights. I am sure that you already know that in Greece there is only one minority in Western Thrace and those are the Muslims. There is no such thing as 'a Macedonian minority'." Greece's human rights violations against its Macedonian minority have been well-documented since Greece's entry into the EU in 1981.

Bulgarian courts are set to rule on the registration of OMO Ilinden PIRIN on Wednesday, November 1, 2006. MHRMI calls on the European Union to enforce the European Court of Human Rights October 20, 2005 decision in favour of OMO Ilinden PIRIN's immediate registration and to make Bulgaria's accession to the EU explicitly conditional on its recognition of its Macedonian minority. Furthermore, MHRMI appeals to concerned human rights organizations and NGOs to issue statements in support of the Macedonian minority in Greece and Bulgaria, and specifically, the immediate registration of OMO Ilinden PIRIN.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385

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