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Macedonia in the Bulgarian and International Press
News Bulletin No2, February 2000

More about the Contacts | The Meeting Kostov – Tachi and Jafferi | OMO Ilinden - Pirin

In February relations between the two countries continued in the form of sporadic contacts on this or the other occasion. Among Macedonian society related to the opposition negative information about Bulgaria continues to prevail and to strengthen whereas the interest in Bulgarian society to the Republic of Macedonia and the events there takes no special place.

More about the Contacts

The Utrinski vesnik of February 3 as well as the Nova Makedonia newspaper and the Makedonia Denes of the same date printed publications about the meetings-seminars held on 2 and 3 the same month between representatives of Macedonian and Bulgarian border municipalities with the participation of representatives of the EU, the Phare programme, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Organization for international development from the USA. According to informations of the newspapers about the seminar held in Sandansky and in Strumitsa on February 2 and 3 the issues discussed were the forms of local self-government and of transborder cooperation, the social-economic cooperation, protection of environment etc. greatest attention is paid to the aim to establish the so-called “Euroregion” between Bulgaria and Macedonia which would turn into an element of the Balkan and the European integration. Ia declaration in this sense has been adopted on the second day. Obviously this is the road we could go to cooperation of mutual interest between the two countries since in practice it exists more or less.

To the contrary of Bulgarian media the Skopie press paid great attention at the First Trade Exhibition of Bulgaria in the Republic of Macedonia betweem 8 and 11 February that was called “Days of Bulgaria in Skopie”. Organizor on the Bulgarian party was the company “Business Forum” and on the Macedonian party – the Economic Chamber of the Republic of Macedonia.70 Bulgarian companies participated in the xhibition, some them being the largest companies in their branch. Their aim was their production to enter the Macedonian market. At te end of last year a similar exhibition was made by Macedonian companies in Bulgaria and this has established as a means of intensifying trade relations. According to publications in the Macedonian media of February 9 the prime minister L. Georgievsky and ministers of the cabinet as well as the Bulgarian deputy minister of economy Hr. Mihaylov took part in the opening of the exhibition. A round table was held in the framework of the exhibition to the topic “Bulgarian-Macedonian economic cooperation – development and perspectives” and representatives of both countries participated.

The Skopie Vecher newspaper of February 16 announced about another joint initiative. Bulgarian and Macedonian artists participated jointly in the this year Venice biennale on fine arts though the initiative launched by private persons had not been approved by the Macedonian ministry of culture. The famous Bulgarian artist Christo Yavashev will also be invoved with the biennale.

In fact joint Bulgarian-Macedonian initiatives in the field of economy and culture are constantly reported in spheres where private interest prevails. Obviously this is one of the vital lines of the relations between the two countries and it has a great perspective. For instance, as the Macedonia newspaper announced in its Sofia edition of February 9, the successful promotion of our magazine “Balkans” which has the ambition to become a bridge between Balkan states goes on in Skopie. Representatives of the Macedonian press and of most TV-channels in the country participated in the promotion. 

Media in Bulgaria and in Macedonia paid attention to the meeting between the presidents of the two countries in Zagreb during the inauguration of the newly elected Craotian president. According to the statements of Petar Stoyanov for the Sofia newspaper Democratzia and of B. Traykovsky for the Nova Makedonia newspaper of February 19 the two presidents have discussed infrastructural projects of mutual interest for the two countries like the railroad Sofia –Skopie, the construction of the transmission line between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, the road part of Corridor No.8 etc. B. Traykovsky invited Petar Stoyanov to visit the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian media also announce the meeting between the prime minister L. Georgievsky and the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party G. Parvanov during which two of them discussed the Stability Pact and the formulation of joint projects regarding the establishment of regional infrastructure as a pledge for its faster development. Back to top

The Meeting Kostov – Tachi and Jafferi

This is the event that probably caused the greatest response in the Republic of Macedonia in February. Media in Sofia were also excited but after certain explanations on the part of governmental official they calmed down. Yet the issue discussed at the meeting was of no immediate interest for Bulgarian public. It was far more different in Skopie mostly because of the statements of Ar. Jafferi before the newspapers Facti, The Dnevnik of February 5. Others also announce that the visit in Sofia had been aimed at presenting the idea of the independence of Kosovo. During the visit Jafferi who participated in it in his capacity of leader of his party and as part of the Macedonian government stated that he had the right to an own vision. The opposition public and media in the Republic of Macedonia are strongly annoyed by the statement of Jafferi that Bulgaria and Kosovo were today the political factors for the stability of the republic of Macedonia though the stability of the country depends on it. 

Macedonian prime minister L. Georgievsky was reserved about the meeting in Sofia and considered it it were a normal contact between Balkan leaders. As the Utrinski vesnik of February 3 and the Sofia Democratzia newspaper of February 4 he saw no danger for Macedonia in this meeting. Such meeting will continue to be held and “they are part of the communication between Balkan leaders for building new stability on the Balkans”. The Sega newspaper of February 4 emphasized on the fact that there were no Bulgarian statement that would admit the independence of Kosovo. But Macedonian media launched different theses. A publication of the Utrinski vesnik of February 1 considered the meeting in Sofia as a possibility to try the possibility for the recognition of Kosovo. The author explained this with the desire of Bulgaria to establish as a Balkan leader. The leader of the Democratic Party Tomislav Stoyanovich–Bombay stated for the Dnevnik newspaper of February 4 that the meeting aimed at the disstabilization of the region as by trying the idea of Kosovo’s independence and at reviving the “San Stefano dreams of Bulgaria”. Some newspapers make even more serious conclusions. The spokesman of SDSM N. Popovsky maintained that the Macedonian government placed itself in a subordinate position compated to Bulgaria (His statement is published in the Dnevnik newspaper of February 4). According to him this were an escape of the government of L. Georhgievsky from protecting national interests of the Republic of Macedonia and a demonstration of self-interested behavior In favour of Bulgaria. In the next edition of the Dnevnik a former minister expressed his indignation of the fact the Council of Europe had canceled monitoring of Bulgaria. In fact the anti-Bulgarian arsenal of Macedonian opposition is so rich that it only needs an occasion to break through. Such an occasion was found by the opposition press in our neighbour in the publication of the Sofia newspaper Trud (“Work”) reading about the desire of Macedonian citizens to acquire Bulgarian passports. According to Trud these were people of Bulgarian conscious which have since the beginning of February come to the Bulgarian Embassy in Skopie to receive the forms necessary for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship. On February 15 when some private TV-channels and the newspapers Dnevnik and the Utrinski vesnik asked the Bulgarian Embassy for explanations of the issue media in Skopie were flooded by vicious anti-Bulgarian articles on this topic. The response of the Embassy read that there were in fact such cases but they were not that massive as presented. However another occasion for raging anti-Bulgarian campaign occurred. The Macedonian government was also criticized for not protecting the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. The press has forgotten however that during the census in the Republic of Macedonia held in 1999 the former government did not even insert the column “Bulgarians” in the census documentation. At that time as well as now the word “Bulgarians” is considered a shameful one though the number of those who are not afraid the to state their Bulgarian conscious and belonging is rising constantly. But that is in fact the issue and not the publication of the Trud newspaper. Back to top

OMO Ilinden - Pirin

After a certain lack of information OMO Ilinden – Pirin again entered on the media arena. The occasion for this is the decision of the Constitutional Court in Sofia to pronounce the registration of the organization by the Sofia City Court from a few months ago illegal. Bulgarian press like the Monitor newspaper of February 29 and the Democratzia newspaper of the same date announce about the patition of the the opinions of constitutional judges on the occasion of the prohibition of OMO-Ilinden – Pirin caused by foreign policy arguments. But the decision of the Court canceling the registration of the organization has been wellcomed with satisfaction by the whole Bulgarian press. We have been constantly writing about the organization itself and about the stages of its development as well as of the ideas that it tries to launch in Bulgarian public on the pages of this Bulletin. The main purpose is to tear the Pirin region from Bulgaria under the pretext that it were part of Macedonia and that its population represented “Macedonian minority” in the country which has been deprived of its personal and minority rights. This is a thesis lacking any grounds but the phenomenon separatism is standing behind it which has become the reason for the Constitutional Court to cancel the registration of an organization with such a programme and objectives.

It is real to expect that the prohibition of OMO Ilinden–Pirin would cause raging attacks against Bulgaria on the part of the opposition in Skopie, and this has become a fact. While governmental circles in Macedonia react correctly the Utrinski vesnik of 21 this month published a statement of the president B. Traykovsky reading that the decision of the future of OMO Ilinden–Pirin were a legal and not a political issue. Still the same newspaper in its edition of March 1 organized a campaign against the decision of the Bulgarian Constritutional Court by placing on its pages an interview with outstanding representatives of the opposition and other persons among which the former minister of internal affairs of SDSM L. Frachkovsky, Prof. of Law, N. Popovsky, spokesman of SDSM and member of parliament, the chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Kr. Kanev, the leader of OMO Ilinden–Pirin Iv. Singartiisky and others. In fact the campaign in oppositional press against the prohibition of the organization in Bulgaria has continued during the whole February. And besides the attacks against the Bulgarian party it directs at the government of L. Georgievsky which is accused of betrayal of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and against the country’s national cause in general. But this part of the internal political game in the Republic of Macedonia.Back to top