site.btaUPDATED Foreign Minister Genchovska: Action to Be Taken against Hate Speech in North Macedonia
Outgoing Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska told journalists in Parliament here on Wednesday that Bulgaria will take measures against the hate speech in the Republic of North Macedonia, "as we have always done".
According to Genchovska, the measures will be diplomatic, such as summoning the Charge d'affaires, serving a protest note, etc.
There were protests in Skopje Tuesday evening against the EU's proposal for the negotiation framework of North Macedonia. The French proposal was aimed to unblock the start of Skopje's EU accession talks in return for EU guaranteeing fulfillment of the conditions set by Sofia. The Bulgarian Parliament voted on June 24 to lift the veto on the Republic of North Macedonia provided their several conditions are met.
North Macedonia's Interior Ministry reported that 47 police officers were injured during the protests in front of Parliament's building in Skopje, which escalated. Molotov cocktails, street signs and rocks were thrown at buildings and the police by protesters.
The Foreign Ministry in Skopje also condemned the violent and inappropriate acts by some of the protesters. "Taking into account the right of all citizens to freely express their indignation or disagreement by protesting, we believe there is no excuse for spreading hate speech, chanting insults and instilling tension," the Ministry said Wednesday.
"They just have to convince the public [in North Macedonia] what needs to be done concerning the French EU Council Presidency's proposal," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.
Genchovska noted that many of the EU Member States have started talking about separating the Republic of North Macedonia from Albania on their path towards EU membership. "This is a process based on concrete results. Everything depends on them alone," she said commenting Skopje's European integration.
Genchovska was heard by the Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee behind closed doors.
After a meeting of the Council of Ministers earlier in the day, Genchovska said in response to a journalist's question about the situation in the Republic of North Macedonia, that such reactions are quite worrying in a democratic country.
"Let us give them the opportunity to explain to their society what this package is," she urged, adding: "What we can do from our side is not to speculate on their media posts. The Bulgarian position is clear".
Bulgaria is strictly following the decision of its National Assembly. Colleagues from the Republic of North Macedonia have some ways to go procedurally, to pass the documents through their Council of Ministers and through their Parliament, Genchovska added.