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Macedonians protest France's proposal over a rift with Bulgaria

Article author:

The Associated Press

Associated Press

Konstantin Testorides

Skopje, North Macedonia (AP) — Late Saturday to protest France's proposal to resolve the conflict with Bulgaria in North Macedonia. Tens of thousands have gathered outside the government agency. It is blocking negotiations with the European Union to join the country.

The North Macedonian government states that this proposal is a "solid foundation." However, the centre-right's main VMRO-DPMNE party rejects the proposal and claims to support Bulgaria's demands to challenge Macedonian history, language, identity, culture and heritage.

"If you need to assimilate, you don't need Europe," opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski told reporters before the protest began. "The answer is no to the latest French proposal."

"If Europe is not ready to accept the civilized Macedonians to which we belong, the Macedonian and Macedonian identities. Wait until people come to understand that is more important than anything else, "he added.

EU member Bulgaria officially acknowledges that North Macedonia has Bulgarian roots in its language, recognizes the Bulgarian minority in its constitution, and suppresses "hate speech" to Bulgaria. Insisted on doing.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced at the NATO summit in Madrid earlier this week that he believed that a "compromise" had been achieved without giving details. "I'm sure he's found a compromise," he said.

North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said that "Macedonian language and identity" is protected by a French proposal and is "accepted as soon as possible" for the country to start. The accession should consult with the EU.

North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership for 17 years. The country received a green light to start accession negotiations in 2020, but no start date has been set.

Bulgaria has used its power as an EU member state to block the accession of North Macedonia. This is because all expansion decisions require unanimous approval from blocks in 27 countries. The controversy has stagnated Albania's progress towards EU accession, as the

block treats the pair as a political package. All three countries are NATO member countries.

The protest ended peacefully. The other was planned on Sunday.