The opposition set out the “Red Lines” in negotiations with Bulgaria
In early July 2021, the opposition Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) passed a resolution on the North Macedonian language and the nation’s identity. The party criticized the ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) for giving up quickly in seeking negotiations with Bulgaria, even mentioning treason against North Macedonia. Antonio Milošoski, a member of the VMRO-DPME’s executive committee, argues that the adoption of the resolution in the Parliament would strengthen North Macedonia’s diplomatic position while sending a clear message to Bulgaria and the European Union.
Several smaller parties also expressed support to the resolution, such as the Democratic Alliance, the Democratic Reconstruction of Macedonia, and the Liberal Democrats. On the other hand, the strongest party of the government coalition – Social Democrats, claim that the so-called “red lines” have long been set and are trying to have a constructive debate with Bulgaria. They said that if the opposition were unsure of these facts, they could accept the opposition’s proposal, eliminating lies and misappropriations of treason on their part.
The resolution, issued in July, aims to define the state’s position in integration into European structures and to make imaginary “red lines” against any attempt to negate North Macedonia’s national, cultural, and linguistic integrity.
Last year, Bulgaria blocked accession negotiations on the integration of North Macedonia into the European Union, referring to common disputes over history, identity, and language, which they believe have their roots in Bulgaria. Skopje has made it clear that it will not compromise on sensitive issues such as national identity. The end of June was supposed to show a breakthrough in bilateral negotiations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia on the EU integration, but without success. As a result, Albania’s accession to the EU, which is in a joint “package” with North Macedonia, is blocked as well.