Ekaterina Zaharieva, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, spoke about the so-called “Macedonian language and history” in her last interview with the Bulgarian television Kanal 3.
Unsurprisingly, this has caused an outroar in Skopje’s media in what has been a very difficult two weeks for our northern neighbours.
Bulgaria two weeks ago demanded that Skopje to drop claims that there is a “Macedonian” minority in Bulgaria and to stop claiming the existence of a “Macedonian language,” or else they would veto their accession into the EU, as reported by Greek City Times.
“North Macedonia” claims that a “Macedonian” minority exists in Bulgaria’s western Blagoevgrad Province, something ardently rejected by Sofia.
This was then followed by the first ever Foreign Affairs Minister of the Former Yugoslavia Republic of “Macedonia” (now known as “North Macedonia”) saying “We are past the time when Macedonian history was protected by the powerful Yugoslav federation and could, without pressure, selectively choose the building blocks of the Macedonian nation, and could cross out the mentions of ‘Bulgarian’ and write ‘Macedonian’ instead.”
These two incidences sent the local media into a frenzy, and it appears that Bulgaria will not take a step back.
Only days earlier a Bulgarian professor and a Member of Parliament emphasised that the people of Skopje are Bulgarian, as reported by Greek City Times.
When Zaharieva was asked by reporters whether the “Macedonian language” is connected to Bulgaria, she said “Yes.”
“It is all connected. There are so many documents. The [Macedonian] language was written in 1945 and based on the Western Bulgarian dialect. They only changed some grammar, added a few words from another neighboring language,” said Zaharieva in an interview with the Bulgarian television Kanal 3.
Of course the reference to a neighbouring language is Serbian, the only other Slavic country and language that neighbours Skopje. Skopje neighbours Greece to the south and Albania to the west, completely different languages.