Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev expects the European integration process in northern Macedonia to be unblocked by June.
The head of the Macedonian Government said on Saturday that the dispute should be resolved between the two peoples, while announcing a meeting with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Stefan Janev at the border crossing between the two countries.
“I hope that in June Bulgaria will give us the support to take the next step towards European integration, to hold the first intergovernmental conference that would mark the start of membership talks. As two brotherly peoples, we must find the solution that finally, after 16 and a half years, Northern Macedonia will take not one step, but the first half step, to hold the first intergovernmental conference. So, our focus is on Bulgaria, first of all on President Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Stefan Janev, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the parliament and all institutions, and we hope that in June they will provide support to take the next step in the integration process. “of Northern Macedonia”, said Zaev.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani said on Saturday that the next two weeks will be intensive in terms of reaching an agreement between the two countries.
Osmani assessed Portugal’s proposal for resolving the dispute as a good basis.
“I remain of the opinion that the next period, respectively June, presents the best chance to start negotiations, there are still two weeks left to overcome the disagreements. We have a serious commitment from the Portuguese presidency, with the concrete proposal that we assessed as a good basis for overcoming differences. “We believe that the Portuguese proposal addresses the sensitivities of the three parties, our side, the Bulgarian side and the member states, who expect that the negotiation process will not be blocked by bilateral issues and that this can be a good basis for overcoming differences.” stated Osmani.
The presidents of the two countries, Stevo Pendarovski and Rumen Radev, met in Rome, Italy on Thursday, who also stressed the need to restore dialogue and restore mutual trust.
The heads of the institutions did not provide details on the Portuguese proposal, except that it does not endanger the Macedonian language and identity.
Bulgarian media have reported that the proposal requires the Macedonian side to accept that the Macedonian language has been modified after 1945, as well as the new Macedonian identity, while urging the Bulgarian side not to mention or insist that the Macedonian language and Macedonian identity, before the period of the year 1945, had no “Bulgarian roots”.
It was this dispute that led Sofia to block the opening of membership talks between northern Macedonia and the European Union in November last year.