Skopje, July 6, 2022
Any proposal for facilitating North Macedonia’s accession to the EU must fully preserve the Macedonian identity or it will be rejected, say the hierarchs of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric.
Following its session yesterday, the Macedonian Holy Synod issued a response to the new French proposal, calling for society to unite and for any protests to be carried out peacefully.
France sent a draft proposal to North Macedonia last week for how to iron out issues with Bulgaria, which has been blocking North Macedonia’s path to the EU since 2020 over a history and identity dispute.
“Bulgaria insists that the Macedonian identity and language are of Bulgarian origin. It also says Bulgarians are repressed in North Macedonia, and must be included in the country’s constitution as a state-founding ethnicity,” reports Balkan Insight.
Many in North Macedonia reject the proposal, which envisions including bilateral disputes between Skopje and Sofia in the EU negotiating framework. Protests were held in Skopje over the weekend.
President Stevo Pendarovski has said the proposal isn’t great, but is generally acceptable as a basis for progress.
However, the Macedonian hierarchs share the concerns of Macedonians. The Synod’s statement issued yesterday reads:
At its extraordinary session held on July 5, 2022, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archdiocese (MOC-OA) discussed the current situation in Macedonian society.
With concern, the Holy Synod examined the situation caused by the latest modified French proposal, as well as the consequences that would result from it, and once again appeals for the inviolable preservation of Macedonian national interests.
As a Synod, we expect the government and all other socio-political factors involved in this process to unite and build a strategy that will fully preserve the Macedonian identity, Macedonian language, culture, and history in the family of European nations.
The Synod informs the public that if the Macedonian distinctiveness is threatened in any form, the MOC-OA will not accept it.
At the same time, we call on the Macedonian people and all citizens in Macedonian society to fully unite, while using all democratic means to preserve their existence. Those, on the other hand, who have decided to exercise their right through a protest, should do so with dignity, without violence, and without destruction of public goods.