Prof. Andonov from Republic of North Macedonia: The constitutional changes are not a "Bulgarian dictate", but a decision of the EU

Until Macedonia starts negotiations with the EU, until it normalizes its relations with Bulgaria, both countries will be part of a pro-Russian story for the Balkans that aims to turn the region into a black hole for Europe.

Only people who want to scare the people with some conspiracy theories say that with constitutional changes we will lose our identity. What some Macedonian politicians call "Bulgarian diktat" is actually a decision of the European Union.

This was stated in an interview for BGNES by the politician from North Macedonia, Oliver Andonov, university professor and representative of the "democratization and revitalization faction" of VMRO-DPMNE.

He served as Minister of Internal Affairs in the government of Emil Dimitriev for 1 day, and then was Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. With it, we comment on the question of why the adoption of the constitutional changes and the inclusion of the Bulgarians in it is important for North Macedonia, who is obstructing the European process and why some politicians in Skopje are trying to present the pan-European proposal for starting the negotiations for accession to the EU as "Bulgarian dictation'.

Andonov emphasized that constitutional changes are important for the normalization of relations with Bulgaria.

"They are also important because this is one of the main reasons for the abnormal relations, which are not natural for two neighboring and close countries. After the whole saga that we experienced as a nation and people, which was created for centuries, the moment has come when we are a different people from the Bulgarian people and that this should be written in the constitution", he declared. According to him, the constitutional changes are necessary to "liberate the Macedonian people from the chauvinistic feelings towards the Bulgarian people", as well as to "liberate the Bulgarian people from the guardianship of the Macedonian people".

"Abstracting from history, today it is a fact that there are two different peoples. This is important from the point of view of a normal, public, social and European spirit of development of the two states, the two peoples and the two nations. From a European point of view, the decision is important, because Macedonia will be able to become a full member of the EU, develop, and under normal conditions ask Bulgaria for open and friendly support, which I doubt Bulgaria will refuse. She will agree to support us in any way," noted Andonov and added: Constitutional changes are necessary to democratize Macedonian society, and thereby further democratize Bulgarian society, "because we will be connected and will continue to live together in the future.

The former minister commented on the behavior of party leaders in North Macedonia, who in recent months have been "competing" to show who is a greater patriot. When asked why politicians do not tell the truth about the historical leaders of VMRO, who defined themselves as Bulgarians, the university professor answered:

"I call this thing a belated national romanticism of the 19th century that has been used by some people in the 21st century for political interests to come to power. The dispute on historical issues, in connection with the national self-determination of the historical figures from VMRO, is a dispute on which historians must speak and prove - who fought for what, how he felt, to which Church he identified himself, etc. n."

"We, as far as VMRO is concerned, sometimes have schizophrenic behavior, unfortunately. For example, in VMRO-DPMNE, our headquarters is called "Hristo Tatarchev" and today we as a party have a problem with the Bulgarians - this is how it appears according to the leadership. But, if your headquarters is called "Hristo Tatarchev", and he left documents about his affiliation, it is surprising to follow such a narrative," Andonov said.

Asked why the political class in North Macedonia is deceiving citizens that the constitutional reform will steal their identity, the former minister stressed that he feels like a Macedonian and nothing can take away his national self-confidence. "Whether we will look back and look for Bulgarian roots, whether we will return to Adam and Eve, I have realized myself as a Macedonian and that is who I am in front of the world," he said.

"I am surprised when someone tries to convince me that with the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Macedonian constitution, we will lose our identity. This can only be said by people who are not sure of themselves or people who want to scare the people with some conspiracy theories from which we will lose something. This is done for political reasons to keep instability in the region. Until Macedonia starts negotiations with the EU, until it normalizes its relations with Bulgaria, both countries will be part of a pro-Russian idea in the Balkans, which aims to turn the Balkans into a black hole for Europe," emphasized Oliver Andonov.

He noted that he does not consider the so-called "French proposal" for a Bulgarian dictate - a position that the leaders of VMRO-DPMNE often express.

"I do not call this a Bulgarian dictate, it is a position of the European Union. If we go back to the month of December 2020, Bulgaria tried to bring historical issues into the negotiation framework. This was opposed by the Czechs and Slovaks, and this is quite logical. If in a modern Europe we explain history, we will have to kill each other again. What some Macedonian politicians call "Bulgarian diktat" is a decision of the European Union. We call it the "French proposal", but it is the EU's. The proposal is as it is," Andonov said.

He did not want to predict when the constitutional changes would be adopted, but expressed a position that if this does not happen soon, the RSM will suffer.

"If this does not happen, the nature of political events will be bad for Macedonia. I am convinced that if the constitutional changes happen, we will go much faster on the road to negotiations. We will be able to come to an understanding with Bulgaria regarding the historical disputes that create difficulties, and they must be reasoned in order to look forward. I repeat that the reason for all this is the exceptional Russian influence in the region, so that it is problematic for Europe," Oliver Andonov said in conclusion. /BGNES