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Bulgaria Would Object to “Northern Macedonia”

June 8, 2012

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov says Sofia would object to any solution to the Greece-Macedonia name dispute that resulted in the former becoming known as Northern Macedonia

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 08.06.2012

 

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

Borisov said his country objected to the idea of neighbouring Macedonia being renamed with a geographical qualifier, such as “Northern”, as it might then encourage Macedonian territorial claims against Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister told TV+ channel that different versions of Macedonia’s potential future name have been discussed in Bulgaria, including “Northern Macedonia.”

“I said that we would not accept this, since the next day they would say Blagoevgrad [in Bulgaria] is Macedonian,” Borisov said, referring to the town in southwestern Bulgaria close to the Macedonian border.

Borisov’s remarks come at a time when such possible solutions appear only hypothetical, as UN-led talks between Macedonia and Greece have been stalled for over a year.

Since 2008 Greece has blocked Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, insisting that use of the name “Macedonia” implies territorial claims to its own northern province of the same name.

UN-led talks between the two sides have so proved unsuccessful. Media have speculated in the past that a name like “Northern Macedonia”, which would distinguish the country from the Greek province, could work as a compromise.

The historic region of Macedonia covers an area in the Balkans that is much larger than the present Republic of Macedonia.

After the Balkan wars of 1912-1913, and the signing of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, the former Ottoman territory was split between Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.

The modern Republic of Macedonia includes only the area that fell to Serbia and which later became an autonomous republic within Yugoslavia.

 

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Balkan Story Note:

1. The statement “I said that we would not accept this, since the next day they would say Blagoevgrad [in Bulgaria] is Macedonian” is a full acceptance on the part of Bulgaria of the Greek argument that the name implies territorial claims.

2. The refusal on the part of Bulgaria to accept the name “Norther Macedonia” also implies that Bulgaria accepts the right of Greece to contest the name of its neighbour.

3. These statements also imply that Bulgaria is also not convinced of fYROM’s good-neighbourly behaviour and in fact (also) fears imperialist and/or irredentist pretensions on its part.

One can only wonder what the reaction of Bulgaria will be if Greece and fYROM do arrive at a solution to the name issue. Will Bulgaria then block fYROM’s accession to the E.U. and NATO?

In a word the Bulgarian position as expressed by its PM Boyko Borisov gives some very interesting arguments that may well be used in the future by Greek dimplomats.

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