Rosen Jeliazkov: The road of the Republic of North Macedonia towards the EU is not something we conflate with bilateral relations

There is a well-defined majority in the Republic of North Macedonia that seeks to honour the Bulgarians and write them into the Constitution, but there is also an outspoken minority that pursues a destructive agenda.

Speaker of the Bulgarian National Assembly Rosen Zhelyazkov made this claim in an interview with BGNES.

We discuss with him how he sees the European process for Skopje proceeding and how he felt his latest visit to North Macedonia went on November 14.

After noting Bulgaria's good intentions and friendliness, Jeliazkov emphasised how crucial it is for the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania to work together on their path to the European Union. He stated that we must reject the discourse of hatred and that the Republic of North Macedonia has no alternative but the European one.

The head of the Bulgarian parliament stated that the trip "showed very clearly that there is a formed majority that wants to respect the Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia and to include them in the Constitution."

"It also showed a fairly vocal minority doing everything they could to detonate and pursue destructive politics at the bilateral level, driven by their interests to win parliamentary elections," according to him.

Zhelyazkov elaborated by saying that the understanding we established a year ago forms the foundation of our relationship.

We do not want to muddy the waters between bilateral relations and the path to EU membership for the Republic of North Macedonia. In this sense, the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Constitution is a criterion that is part of the agreement with the European Commission. He emphasised how crucial this condition is to kick up the accession talks. 

Zhelyazkov noted that the upcoming parliamentary elections in North Macedonia likely indicate that the process is being viewed through a limited party lens rather than in the broad significance it holds for Skopje.

"But we believe and encourage this majority, although it is insufficient - only 10 MPs in the parliament in Skopje are not enough - there is still a majority, and I believe that this will not be a prerequisite for the deterioration of our bilateral relations" , Rosen Zhelyazkov added. /BGNES