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Bulgaria says to block EU accession talks with North Macedonia

Christian Fernsby |
Bulgaria plans to voice its opposition on Tuesday to starting European Union accession talks with neighbouring North Macedonia as the two countries have yet to settle disputes over history and language, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said.

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The EU’s European Affairs ministers are expected to discuss launching accession negotiations with North Macedonia on Nov. 17. If any country votes against the framework for negotiations, accession talks cannot be formally launched.

“Bulgaria is saying ‘No’ to the start of negotiations, we are not saying ‘No’ to North Macedonia’s accession to the EU,” Zaharieva told private broadcaster BTV on Sunday.

She said North Macedonia is not delivering on the friendship treaty between the two Balkan neighbours signed in 2017 and has policies based on hatred towards Bulgaria.

Sofia wants its neighbour to recognise that its nation and language have Bulgarian roots and it wants it to put an end to anti-Bulgarian rhetoric. Skopje argues that its identity and language are not open to discussion.

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