31 March, 2015

European Free Alliance Bulgaria continues to discriminate its Macedonian minority

For 15 years now Bulgaria, an EU Member State, refuses to register EFA member OMO Ilinden Pirin as a legal political party, simply because it denies its Macedonian minority the right of self-determination. Bulgaria not only defied the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights which convicted the country for discrimination but also continuously violates Article 2 of the EU Treaty as well as Articles 21 and 22 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that safeguard the right to self-determination and the protection of minorities.

EFA and its MEP Jordi Sebastia have brought the issue once again into the European Parliament in late 2014, asking the European Commission to take measures and discontinue Bulgaria's discriminatory policy. In her initial reply Commissioner Jourova, who is responsible for Gender Equality and Justice, indirectly admitted that Bulgaria violates basic EU principles but stated that the EC has no competence to intervene.

In a follow-up question, EFA and Jordi Sebastia noted the very evident. That the Commission by not intervening when a Member State contravenes the EU founding Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights, is not really complying with its obligations as the "guardian" of these documents.

Unfortunately, in its 2nd reply, Commissioner Jourova not only repeated the same disappointing story but also tried to waive any responsibility and wrong-doing by falsely claiming that the Commission ensures that all Member States respect fundamental rights. A closer look to what is happening in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France, Romania and other EU Members of course, is more than sufficient to prove how unfounded this claim is.

It is obvious that the Commission is not doing almost anything to safeguard the EU Founding Treaties. It is even more disappointing that there is no Commissioner responsible for national minorities and minority languages and that President Juncker-unlike his predecessors- has rejected the request of EFA President Francois Alfonsi for a meeting.

EFA believes that the future of Europe cannot be built on these grounds. The EU needs a deep structural reform that will put Peoples and not Member States in the epicentre. For EFA this is not a matter of choice but simply a matter of time.

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