German media: The Sofia-Skopje match may last for years – It was overshadowed by the match against Athens


The prospects of Northern Macedonia joining the EU will remain in demand for many more years. This is at least what Michael Martens claims in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The German columnist explains the reasons in a lengthy article.

“Anyone who believed that a change of government in Bulgaria was enough to return to logic and stop strange academic debates in the EU’s policy in the Balkans was probably laughed at. The name issue between Athens and Skopje has hampered the country’s western integration. over a quarter of a century, before being resolved in 2018 with its renaming from Macedonia to Northern Macedonia.The historic dispute between Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia could last as many years.Kyril Petkov (ss. A pragmatist who looks ahead and does not want to be consumed by Balkan historical debates, but he too should be wary of his governing partners, such as the partly nationalist socialist party, and not only that. Even Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, like his predecessor, has deeper causes than many know. are on the same nationalist line. “With the difference that abroad it did not come to light earlier, because Bulgaria ‘s positions were always in the shadow of the loud disagreement between Athens and Skopje over the name”.

The German columnist refers to the list of demands made by Sofia and the Bulgarian president to give the green light to Skopje’s EU accession process. Among them is the ban on Skopje “hate speech”. “Radev urges Skopje to censor the internal debate, but what he perceives as ‘hate speech’ is noteworthy,” the article said. “It refers to the period from 1941 to 1944, during which Bulgaria was a partner of the Hitlerite axis, which had occupied a large part of present-day Northern Macedonia as well as parts of northern Greece. Sofia pursued a ruthless Bulgarianization policy. The approximately 7,000 Jews from northern Macedonia were taken by the Bulgarian occupation forces to a ghetto and then to Treblinka, but Bulgaria insists on banning hate speech because there are plaques or monuments in northern Macedonia reminiscent of “fascist” extremism. with hate speech “.

DW – Irini Anastassopoulou

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