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President Rumen Radev Calls for a Timely Response from Responsible Institutions in Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia to the Signals about Discrimination Against Compatriots in our South-Western Neighbour

2021-02-22 11:28:00

President Rumen Radev calls for a timely response from responsible institutions in Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia to the signals of our compatriots in our South-Western neighbour regarding important issues they are facing. The Bulgarian Head of State’s position is motivated by a letter received at the Presidency from ethnic Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia in which they express concern at the continuing discrimination against them in the Republic of North Macedonia.

The President believes that human rights and protection against discrimination are at the core of democracy. They are a fundamental part of the Copenhagen criteria for accession to the European Union. According to the Head of State, respecting the free right to self-identification of our compatriots in the Republic of North Macedonia who, despite the repressions during totalitarian past, have maintained and continue to openly express their Bulgarian national identity is key in the development of good-neighbourly relations between our two countries.

More than one hundred thousand citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia have Bulgarian citizenship, acquired based on their free will and documentary certification of Bulgarian ethnic origin. The applications of thousands more are currently in the process of consideration for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship. We expect these objective facts to be reflected in the counteraction of officials in the Republic of North Macedonia against the worrying extent of hate speech against Bulgaria and Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia. Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia must have equal rights with all other citizens in the country, as per the highest global and European standards. This main principle of democracy is also laid out in the Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbourliness and Cooperation signed between the two states in 2017.

President Rumen Radev supports the calls from the letter to Bulgarian institutions to simplify the procedures for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship for our compatriots in the Republic of North Macedonia, who openly declare their Bulgarian identity and for institutions in our neighbouring state to create all the necessary conditions and to guarantee the right of our compatriots to free and clear will of self-identification as Bulgarians by origin, as per the principles of international law.

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