EU ambassador to Skopje asks government to include Bulgarian minority in Constitution

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European Union Ambassador to Skopje David Geer asked lawmakers in North Macedonia to approve constitutional amendments and include the Bulgarian minority in its preamble. The constitutional changes are foreseen in the Agreement with Bulgaria for the resolution of disputes on language, identity and historical aspects, therefore being a condition for the continuation of the country’s negotiations for membership in the European Union.

“North Macedonia can benefit from this chance, to be able to progress and the next step is changing the Constitution,” said Ambassador Geer in a visit to Ohrid.

He emphasized that the country is already negotiating to become a member of the EU, but this path can only continue with the changing of the Constitution.

“Of course, we are talking about a sovereign decision that your country must take. However, it is a crucial decision in making progress.”

The ambassador also mentioned the need for reforms, as a very important step towards making the European integration process more dynamic.

“The sooner reforms are implemented, the faster can the EU membership happen,” said Geer.

In March 2020, the European Union decided to start negotiations with North Macedonia, but the process was blocked by Bulgaria, conditioning its support on the resolution of disputes between the two countries. Bulgaria lifted its veto in 2022 after reaching an agreement, brokered by France.

However, the needed constitutional changes are now opposed by the North Macedonian opposition. VMRO-DPMNE said Brussel should give guarantees that Sofia will not present other conditions in the further process of the country’s European integration.

Constitutional changes can be approved by the votes of at least 80 deputies out of the 120 in the Assembly of North Macedonia. The parliamentary majority has 74 deputies, making the opposition’s votes crucial in approving these changes.

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