Politics, Europe

Bulgarian lawmakers vote to unblock North Macedonia's EU bid

Bulgarian parliament votes to lift veto on preventing talks for accession of North Macedonia to EU under certain conditions

Talha Ozturk   | 24.06.2022
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to unblock North Macedonia's EU bid

BELGRADE, Serbia

The Bulgarian parliament on Friday voted to lift its veto on negotiations for the accession of North Macedonia to the European Union under certain conditions.

The removal of the veto was approved by the votes of 170 members of the 240-seat parliament that supported the declaration, as 37 opposed and 21 abstained.

The vote came just a day after Ukraine and Moldova were granted EU candidate status, partly in response to the Russian war in Ukraine.

MPs from both the outgoing ruling coalition and the main opposition GERB party voted in favor of the motion.

According to the terms of the parliament, North Macedonia will remain loyal to the agreement signed in 2017 in the field of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation with Bulgaria during the negotiation process with the EU, Bulgarians in North Macedonia will be registered as a "state-forming element" in the country's constitution, Macedonian will not be considered a language other than Bulgarian, and the EU will be the guarantor for the implementation of these conditions.

The government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who could not get a vote of confidence and will resign on June 27, delegated the decision of North Macedonia to begin negotiations with the EU to the authority of the parliament.

Petkov told reporters in Brussels that he has received congratulations from all European leaders for making the right pro-European decision.

"The negotiation conditions Bulgaria brought to North Macedonia were actually European conditions. Now it is time for the government of North Macedonia, which wants to be a part of the EU, to take a step," he said.

Although Bulgaria was the first country to recognize North Macedonia as a state, there are debates over a shared history that cannot be shared. Discussions on the subject are left to the authority of experts.

North Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005.

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