Skopje, 3 July 2020 (MIA) – It is important that the European Commission takes a principled stand on the Macedonian language issue, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said on Friday.
“In regard to the negotiating framework, it is important that the European Commission (EC) takes a principled stand on the Macedonian language issue. Ministry of Foreign Affairs analyses show that Macedonian language was last mentioned in an EC document in 2005 in our application for membership of the EU and the answer to the EC Questionnaire. It is important that the EC based on the completion of the UN process and finalization of the country’s identity card came out immediately after the entry into force of the Prespa Agreement with an inter-institutional guideline in terms of name and terminology where Macedonian language is Macedonian language and it is very important that in the dialogue now between the member states the starting position is principled,” he said.
“We will cooperate with neighbouring Bulgaria to conduct things so that we can be successful both in regard to European integration and in terms of an issue that cannot be opened in Europe in 2020. The Macedonian language is our business, it is an expression of our right to self-determination and we cannot talk about European integration if this is challenged, just as we cannot talk about true friendship which represents mutual respect,” Dimitrov told reporters after the presentation of project Prespa Forum.
He said that the second phase of the negotiation process after the presentation of the draft negotiating framework by the EU, continues with a debate between EU member states that will begin next week, and in this context, it is important to include a new enlargement methodology.
Dimitrov said that according to his German counterpart Heiko Maas with great support of the German presidency, the first intergovernmental conference will be held during the German EU presidency, and in context to Berlin Process which is co-chaired by North Macedonia and Bulgaria the Summit is to be held in Sofia in October or November.
In regards to the MKD and MK code and the announcements for problematization of its use by Greece, Dimitrov said that this is an issue that is part of the balance of the Prespa Agreement.
“The balance of all elements in the Prespa Agreement was achieved in a long negotiation process and the construction of the agreement is such that changing one element means distancing from difficulty achieved balance. According to the final agreement, all elements are mandatory for both parties and the use of MKD or MK code is obligatory for all uses except for vehicle registration plates,” Dimitrov said.
He also noted that the Prespa Agreement is implemented to a large extent, especially for major issues. Issues that have stagnated will be discussed. The Prespa Agreement closed all issues except for commercial names, trademarks and brand names and will be resolved by a mutually agreed solution.
The working groups of North Macedonia and Greece, including the group working on opening Markova Noga border crossing point, have postponed their meetings due to the pandemic, but things are expected to accelerate once working conditions return to normal.
According to the analysis all the work for putting this border crossing point into operation can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years. Markova Noga border crossing point as well as the Prespa Forum Center will revive this region, Dimitrov said.