Bulgaria confirms its Veto, European values and expectations of our citizens have been betrayed - North Macedonia will continue to build good neighborly relations and implement European standards

The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, after today's conclusions of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) expresses disappointment that the EU did not find a way to approve the Negotiating Framework, that would enable the first intergovernmental conference between EU and North Macedonia to take place by the end of 2020, during Germany's EU presidency.

Unfortunately, Bulgaria's veto was confirmed, thus preventing the start of our country's negotiations with the EU, although according to all reports of EU institutions, we meet all the criteria for the negotiating framework to be accepted and to hold the first intergovernmental conference for start of EU negotiations.

We delivered what was expected, but the EU did not keep to its promises. At the moment we are not getting the right answer from them. Bulgaria and the EU keep on repeating the mistakes towards North Macedonia. The historic mistake made in 2019 is now a huge geostrategic mistake of the EU.

The justified expectations of our citizens, supported and encouraged by the EU and the member states, have been betrayed. The trust of a large part of the citizens of all Western Balkan countries has been shaken. This mistake is a motivation for an even more serious penetration of third parties' interests in the heart of Europe.

The demands of the Republic of Bulgaria are not surprising, but their perseverance on the positions that has nothing to do with the strategically important issue of EU enlargement will not change our position that there can be no negotiation on identity issues.

We remain committed to the dialogue with Sofia and the search for a mutually acceptable solution. We are ready to clarify certain dilemmas if necessary, but our positions are known and publicly confirmed: We are Macedonians who speak Macedonian language. Macedonian identity can not be discussed and can not be negotiated.

We are committed to the agreement with Bulgaria and find that there is no need for a new agreement or annex to the existing agreement. We are ready to increase the dynamics of the agreement's implementation. We have provided a draft action plan for projects between the two countries that can enhance cooperation in various fields (economy, infrastructure, culture, education, etc.).

We will continue the fight against hate speech. Provocations are not in anyone's interest and we must maintain a civilized and European like dialogue on all levels. Let us not enter a circle of insults, accusations and hate speech, which will not bring anything good to anyone, least to the Macedonian and Bulgarian peoples.

Regardless of the fact that the EU sends a bad signal about the importance of our domestic reforms and the results shown in the EU integration process for which recognition came from Brussels, the Government of North Macedonia remains committed to the same strategic track as before. There is no deviation from the pursuit of strategic goals that have been set unanimously and that have always enjoyed broad support: achieving and maintaining good neighborly relations, active participation in NATO as an equal member of the Alliance and unwavering aspiration for EU membership.

At home, we will not allow the overwhelming disappointment with the EU by not approving of the negotiating framework to cause a stalemate in internal reforms. On the contrary, we will accelerate the pace and increase the reforms' advantage that we have in the region. With even more faith, commitment and unity, we will dedicate ourselves to building European standards at home.