Politics 6

07.06.2024.

9:30

Media: Bulgaria is preparing to stab us in the back

Rumen Radev, the Bulgarian President, announced that his country might reconsider its support for Serbia towards the European Union because of, as he said, the way in which Belgrade treats the Bulgarian minority in the country.

Izvor: Blic.rs

Media: Bulgaria is preparing to stab us in the back
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Bearing in mind that Sofia has a history of blocking the entry of new members, the question is how powerful is this raised finger, writes Blic.

Analysts are divided about what that "Bulgarian knife in the back of Serbia" could look like.

Some believe that the threat is rhetorical, others that it is not excluded that it will happen one day. In explaining his position, Radev did not only threaten, he also specified what conditions he would scan when making a decision.

"The main criterion by which we will judge and support the progress of the countries of the Western Balkans is precisely the position of our compatriots in each country - the conditions for economic and social development and, above all, their ability to defend their national identity, language, culture and historical memory", explained Radev.

Blic reminds that Radev was in Serbia three years ago, when he said that "a lot has been achieved for that national minority in Serbia", so the question arises, what has changed right now?

Boško Jakšić, a foreign policy commentator, for Blic relates this statement to the recent events in the United Nations General Assembly regarding the Resolution on Srebrenica.

"This is a response to Belgrade's criticism regarding Sofia's vote in the UN General Assembly. History repeats itself, that there is always a member of the EU that can be blackmailed. This threat is more rhetorical than it can have meaning, but also a message that, wherever possible, they avoid conflicts," notes Jakšić.

The threat came unannounced, but it is not to be ignored considering that three years ago Bulgaria vetoed the process of North Macedonia joining the EU, accusing the government in Skopje of hate speech against Bulgarians.

Saša Mitrović, a researcher at the Center for European Policies, who recently made an official visit to Bulgaria, reminds Blic of this.

"We should not lose sight of the fact that, despite the nominal support of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, Bulgaria has already tried to use its position as a veto player for the realization of its own national interests, even when it came to the detriment of the broader interests of the Union. This principle is the most direct applied in the still current blocking of the accession process of North Macedonia, and I would not be surprised if Serbia's progress towards the EU would be stopped by the Bulgarian veto at some point," Mitrović believes.

He reminds that Romania, historically very friendly to us, briefly blocked the granting of candidate status to Serbia in 2012, due to a different view on the issue of the Vlach minority in our country.

"I would not be surprised if Bulgaria did something similar to Serbia, referring to the principles of protecting the human and minority rights of Bulgarians in Serbia. It is up to us to improve the position of all our fellow citizens, regardless of their national, ethnic or religious affiliation, to show that such unilateral the moves have no legitimacy and therefore represent an abuse of the unanimous decision-making procedure," notes Mitrović.


What do Bulgarians living in Serbia say?

According to the last census, there are 12,918 citizens who identify themselves as Bulgarians living in Serbia. Stefan Stojkov, president of the National Council of the Bulgarian National Minority in Serbia, is one of them.

A day after Radev's statement, Stojkov is decisive in his position that the Bulgarian national minority is not discriminated against in Serbia.

"Really, I don't know in what context President Radev said that. As the president of the National Council of the Bulgarian National Minority in Serbia, I am satisfied with the attitude of the Republic of Serbia towards our minority," Stojkov told RT.

He could not say what the purpose of the statement of the President of Bulgaria could be.

"I repeat, I don't know in what context he said that. We had meetings when he came twice to Dimitrovgrad, when the presidents were here, we commented, of course there is always room to improve things, in education, culture, information, all segments of life, but the state of Serbia equally takes care of all its citizens here, including the Bulgarians," says Stojković.

As an example of good cooperation, he points out that when children finish high school, by the decision of the Government of Bulgaria, they have the right to enroll in appropriate faculties in Bulgaria, along with a scholarship and a student dormitory provided.

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