Address to the institutions and members of the European Union regarding the discrimination to which the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is subjected and Bulgaria’s blockade of Macedonia’s membership of the European Union

27 June, 2021



Regarding the discrimination to which the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is subjected and Bulgaria’s blockade of Macedonia’s membership of the European Union

The Macedonian minority was in the past officially recognised in the Republic of Bulgaria, enjoyed the right to study the Macedonian language and history and had its own theatres and organisations. However, after 1963 it was declared to be non-existent and subjected to assimilation as part of the process for the creation of “а united Bulgarian socialist nation”. Macedonians were subjected to organised and systemic persecution which led to hundreds of people being sent to jail, while thousands were discriminated against in other ways.

The Macedonian minority continues being denied to the present day and Macedonians do not enjoy even one of the rights stipulated by the Framework Convention for the Defence of National Minorities. Macedonians are objects of systemic hate speech, treated as enemies of the nation and traitors and denied the opportunity to have their own organisations or to participate in social life as Macedonians. Our children cannot study their language, history and culture in school, are forced to learn that they do not exist as a people and to hear in the media that their parents, who self-identify as Macedonians, are illiterate, unintelligent, deluded, agents of foreign states and traitors. This policy has led to the administrative decimation of the Macedonian minority which has been reduced from 187,000 (at the last Census in 1956 at which we could freely identify as Macedonians) to 5,071 (at the last census in 2001 whose results are considered to be accurate and valid).

To be a Macedonian in Bulgaria has become something shameful and dangerous.

The Republic of Bulgaria has violated the European Convention on Human Rights 14 times, as found by the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for discrimination against Macedonians and the Macedonian cases constitute one quarter of all judgments not implemented by Bulgaria, which has led to the country being placed under a strict monitoring regime by the Committee of Ministers.

Unfortunately, despite our appeals, the European Union has not wanted to intervene in order to defend this part of its citizens-the Macedonians in Bulgaria. This has been interpreted in Bulgaria as giving a green light not only to the full continuation of the policies of discrimination and assimilation, but has also provided the opportunity for this discrimination on ethnic grounds to be converted into a European policy and a condition for entry into the European Union. Bulgaria has blocked the membership of Macedonia and imposed conditions which are humiliating for the Macedonian nation and make a mockery of European and human values- in order for Macedonians to become members of the European Union they have to renounce their language, history and culture and solidarity with their fellow countrymen who are subjected to discrimination and assimilation in Bulgaria.

The actions of Bulgaria are an example of how the refusal of Europe to adopt a position on the painful matter of discrimination against minorities not only does not succeed in avoiding and circumventing problems, but rather leads to their escalation at the national, international and highest European levels.

The true motive for the blocking of Macedonia’s candidacy and for the absurd demands made o Macedonia is precisely the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. Bulgaria wishes to guarantee that no one will ever prevent it from pursuing its intention of eliminating the Macedonian minority which it does not want to exist.

Nationalist intolerance of minorities in Bulgaria has reached alarming levels.

Will the European Union allow itself to be humiliated in this way?

Or will it take measures to defend the dignity of its citizens and itself by putting an end to this last manifestation of a totalitarian policy within its borders?

Bulgarian policies destabilise the security of the Balkans and open the door to the inflow of forces and ideologies which are hostile to and compete with European ideals.

Europe must not any longer allow the assimilation of and discrimination against the Macedonian minority to continue.

It must not allow membership of the European Union to be used for the imposition of fascist policies and conditions on candidate members.

We have always supported the integration of the region into European structures, but that must be done on a principled basis, with respect for national dignity and identity, on the basis of equality between nations and respect for human rights and minorities which should be a bridge to rapprochement and not a reason for confrontation. Europe should impose its principle of “united in diversity” on the Balkan Peninsula instead of allowing retrograde totalitarian ideologies to impose on the European Union “values” and policies contrary to the Union and its values, to the rule of law and morality.

In the name of the Macedonian minority we make the following appeals to the European Union:

- To raise officially with Bulgaria the problem of the Macedonian minority.

- To include the matter of minorities and specifically that of the Macedonian minority in its monitoring of Bulgaria.

- To insist that Bulgaria apply the Framework Convention to all minorities, including the Macedonian minority.

- To begin to accept and examine cases involving discrimination and hate speech against the Macedonians.

- To demand that Bulgaria implement without question the judgements of the ECHR.

- To find a way to persuade Bulgaria to lift its veto, to stop abusing its position as a member of the EU and to not impose further unprincipled conditions on whichever candidate member.

- Given our belief and hope that the European Union will defend the basic principles and ideas on which it is built, we direct our address to you, in the expectation that an intervention necessary for the just resolution of this problem will take place.

Adopted at the Tenth National Conference of the United Macedonian Organisation “ILINDEN” - PIRIN

Mount Pirin

27 June 2021

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