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Macedonia Should Understand What Good Neighbourly Relations Mean

Published on , , Zagreb - Brussels

The pressure over Macedonia for reforms is growing not only on behalf of the European Commission, which has decided to fill in the vacuum that formed by the waiting of a solution to the name dispute with Greece in order for the real accession talks to begin, but on behalf of other neighbouring countries as well, especially Bulgaria. If until recently under the spotlight was mainly Greece, which vetoed Macedonia's beginning of accession negotiations with the EU after it received a candidate status in 2005, Bulgaria too is beginning to show nervousness because of the ongoing small but not harmless manifestations against the common history of the two nations. The latest example in this regard was the organised by Macedonia exhibition in Brussels, titled "A Thousand Years of Writing Tradition in Macedonia", which evoked sharp reactions on behalf of Bulgarian historians and MEPs from various political groups. In the end of the day, the title of the exhibition was changed to 'Medieval Manuscripts".

It was this case that provoked Bulgarian MEP from the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament and former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria (2005-2009) to call for a Bulgarian strategy to be taken up to a European level for the relations with Macedonia. In an interview with euinside, Mr Kalfin explained the need of such a strategy with the lack of understanding. According to him, Macedonia was not aware what precisely does the term "good neighbourly relations" mean and it has to be explained to the country in a "European language". Moreover, the understanding of this term should be a main element of the negotiating process. In the words of the former top diplomat of Bulgaria, who yet as a minister said that Macedonia should be tabled conditions, the European partners did not understand very well what are Bulgaria's issues with its Western neighbour and that these problems need better explanation. Macedonia should know that there is no way for it to move forward even if negotiations with the EU begin, unless it has understood what good neighbourly relations mean.

At the moment, the government in Sofia is developing an overall strategy for Bulgaria's relations with its neighbours. Although the strategy will not be devoted solely to Macedonia but aims to create durable foundations of the Bulgarian policies toward the neighbouring countries in the Balkans, Skopje is obviously foreseeing some latent threat against Macedonian interests. This can clearly be seen in the questions, asked to Mr Nickolay Mladenov, Bulgaria's foreign minister, in his first ever interview for a Macedonian medium, the Grazdanski magazine.

"Question: What will for Macedonia mean the strategy for the relations with the neighbours, which you announced recently? How should your words be understood when presenting the initiative that, 'in order to receive Bulgaria's support for the EU and NATO, the neighbours have to prove that they want constructively, responsibly and genuinely to walk the path Bulgaria walked' and that you would not allow someone to interfere in the Bulgarian history?

N. Mladenov: [...] I believe that the region has no other alternative in the future but the European integration. In this moment, we want to see how exactly this future will look like. We believe that the most important thing is new and modern infrastructure to appear in the Balkans in order to boost the economy, to ensure cooperation in energy, defence, etc. We want to see who of our neighbours think the same way as us. Who of them are ready to work for these common goals and who prefer to deal with symbolic politics rather then improving live on the Balkans together. We know that the path toward European integration is tough and will get tougher. In Bulgaria people ask themselves - is our neighbours' desire to move forward genuine toward a more integrated Europe? We have walked our path, we want to support our neighbours on that path as well, but we need to know whether they are ready to walk it.

Question: Special focus in Macedonia caused your statement that with the strategy, in fact, Bulgaria has to formulate 'red lines that it will not retreat from in its policy towards the neighbours'. The dilemma is whether with this Bulgaria is officially becoming a second Greece on Macedonia's path toward NATO and the EU?

N. Mladenov: [...] 20 years ago Bulgaria was first to recognise Macedonia's independence - during the yugoembargo and the Greek blockade, we provide Macedonia with access to our ports. This is why people in Bulgaria today ask: why in Skopje they are always looking for a reason to underline their differences with Bulgaria instead of looking for what connects us? For every country that wants to be part of the EU, relations with its neighbour member states must be a priority. The citizens of Macedonia have an interest in your country moving forward, we, your neighbours, have even bigger interest this to happen".

The issue is present, although not as a main one, in the high level accession dialogue (HLAD), launched by the European Commission earlier this year with the aim to maintain the reforms momentum in Skopje. During the last high level meeting on September 17 in Skopje, in the end of a two-page document, it is written that Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Commissioner Stefan Fule (of enlargement) reiterated how important good neighbourly relations are with all neighbours. Probably, this issue will be more specifically outlined in the progress report for Macedonia the Commission will publish on Wednesday (October 10).

comments
vwp
9 October 2012 03:52
the problem is not just macedonia but greece and bulgaria.THEY all have to justify their statehood.You do that by denigrating your neighbours.the greeks are insecure, the bulgarians would like to forget parts of their history.the macedonians need a basis for a country.The idiots share history,land, people,bad memories,and stupid governments. And now the good stuff..................................................................................................................
anonymous
9 October 2012 10:40
the problem reflecting bad relations in south-east balkans is  the "macedonism" namely the artificial creation of a nation by bulgarian intellectuals in 19th century for specific geopolitical resons this new nation after the official establishment by Tito in 1945 and after the relevant language modification done  by B.Koneski team has no other option  than to monopolize historic elements primarily from bulgarian history since in the past it was akin to bulgarian nation but not today!Recently in a despair attempt to abandon their bulgarian past and perhaps the slavic qualifier since i have read from fyrom's diaspora texts that this term is rather an insult! However Recently is adopted  by them ,a new historic option the "ancient macedonian" that means a distinct nation in separatism from  other south slavs with its own distinct culture,language and heritage .the comical transformation of a typical medieval otoman-albanic city Skopia or Uckub to an archaic style city with giant ancient  ancient macedonian monuments  (even promitheus was engaged) !!! and arch of triumph is giving a clear message to world what fyrom's politicians want to do in the region  today!
JG
9 October 2012 15:17
The problem with Macedonia's neighbors is that they all have taken slice of Macedonian land and have substantive Macedonian population living within their borders which they do not recognize. To circumvent this unwanted "obstacle" they attack and accuse Macedonia and its leadership as not being friendly and very neighberly to them. Have they ever asked themselves how neighberly and friendly disposed are they towards her? They heap insults and denigrate Macedonia on every conceivable opportunity. It is high noon for all of you bigots and hypocrits to place a mirror in front of you and take a hard look at your positions and actions. You have stolen almost everything we had and now you are crying wolf. Shame on you all. You are not promoting peace and stability in the Balkans, that's for sure and your pettiness and myopic thinking has crossed all bounds. You took our land in 1913; you split us in 4 parts and now you have the audacity to accuse us of not playing fair? You all make me sick.
from greece
9 October 2012 18:51
The fake claim coming from the ultra-nationalistic diaspora "they all have taken slice of macedonian land"except it has, no historical base,since the "macedonian" nation is an artificial idea of recent years ,and never existed in the past ,neither the macedonia province was inhabited by one  dominant nation, but it was a mosaic of nationalities. Additionaly in the Ottoman census archives , Had never recorded a "macedonian" nation .This new provocation has the  dimension of irredentism the main cause of wars in balkans ! The egg of the snake is ready for incubation !
Nick the Greek
11 October 2012 00:01
Macedonia:Can Two Kinds of Macedonians Exist Side by Side!

Greece cannot possibly recognize FYRoM as an Independent Nation of Macedonians, on the basis, there has never existed an Independent Macedonian state outside of Hellenism. Through Greek eyes, FYRoM is seen as an artificial creation, an invention of comrade Tito, the Croatian dictator of Yugoslavia, who, in an effort to bolster potential territorial claims against Greece, baptized a milieu of Serbo-Bulgarian South-Slavs with the Greek-Hellenic name "Macedonians."

The Greek position contends that since Alexander the Great was the Greek King of Macedon and because the ancient-Macedonians were essentially a Greek speaking Hellenic peoples...only Greeks have right to their legacy on the basis, the path of least resistance flows through the modern-Greeks. Even if fragmented, those chain links join modern-Greeks to ancient-Greeks in a line of ethnic-racial, cultural and linguistic continuity in a manner which no other modern peoples can boast. It is the Greeks who can boast head seating position at the heirarchy table, only Greeks have the principal-right to Identify themselves as Macedonians, not the Slavs of FYRoM.

Ultimately, the Greeks are realists, Greeks recognize that the only possible solution to the FYRoM - Greece conflict is one that takes into account and recognizes both peoples' rights to the Macedonian-name and Identity, but from a hierarchical perspective...there can be two kinds of Macedonians, Macedonians who are Greeks and Macedonians who are not Greeks. Macedonians who are not Greeks having the right to Identify themselves as Macedonians on the basis of geography, and not through injudicious or wrongly percieved ethnic-racial, cultural or linguistic perspectives.
vwp
11 October 2012 05:21
For a country with a german royal family............democracy since 1974...........Do not tell us our history......myopic vision of modern greeks is amazing.......maybe like reading just the religous books and nothing else......Please read history  with an open mind,then you may come to a battle of the minds with all your wits,not half-witted.
Nick the Greek
11 October 2012 08:31
The Socialist Republic of Macedonia...created in 1945 and populated in the main by Serbo-Bulgarian South-Slavs, blood related, kith and kin to bona-fide Serbians and Bulgarians. Their language was the closest Slavic language to Bulgarian before 1944, and it remained the closest after 1944 even after it was Serbianized, ceded with just 5 Serbian letters and then renamed to Macedonian-language.

Slavist schools in the Socialist Republic of Macedonia taught young Serbo-Bulgarian children to think of themselves as Macedonians and to think of ancient-Macedonians as Slavs or Slavic speakers. They were taught to consider Alexcander the Great the first Czar of the Slavs.

Greeks have to live next to these people...brainwashed and Indoctrinated South-Slavs who were taught to hate Greeks and Hellenism in a region of the world steeped in Greek history.
Nick the Greek
14 October 2012 13:24
When something belongs to you, and then it is taken away from you under dubious or whatever circumstances, that feeling is huge because you lost something, your loss and nobody elses. For example: The loss of a child, or the abduction of a child. Like when a child is taken away from you under dubious or whatever circumstance...that feeling is huge because you lost something precious, your loss and nobody elses.

Jannissaries...This term is used to describe the taking of Greek Christian-Orthodox children by the Ottoman-Turks who raised and converted them into fanatic Musulmen front-line Turks. In all Greco-Turkish wars, the Greeks had to kill their own children first to get to that eastern-oriental, asiatic, Musulman-Turk. These feelings nobody endured but the Greeks.

Like those eastern-oriental, asiatic, Musulman-Turks took away thousands of Greek children in order to raise them as fierce anti-Greeks, for front-line fodder against their own kith and kin blood-relatives, the Slavs did the same, when during the Greek civil war 1946 - 1949, thousands of Greek children were abducted by the combined efforts of some Serbo-Bulgarian Communist forces. Greek children were taken-away to the eastern-block Communist countries to be raised as fierce anti-Greeks, front-line fodder for future wars against Greece.

FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs are the progeny of those abducted Greek born children...they are now third generation fierce anti-Greeks bred for purpose, to hate Greeks and Hellenism.

To have your name taken-away under dubious or whatever circumstance can be likened to having your child taken away, or your woman taken away on the basis your adversary derives great pleasure in watching your pain. FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs take great pleasure in watching Greeks squirm at their antics. When they erect a giant statue of an ancient-Greek hero for example, or rename an ages-old Slavic place-name with an ancient-Greek one...all of these actions are done purely to rile the Greeks, to watch them squirm and writhe with discomfort watching their history and heritage get rubbished by a peoples bred for purpose.

The Macedonian-name belongs to the Greeks. Greek ownership over the Macedonian-name is best depicted and Illustrated in just two simple words...Theme-Macedonia. The Macedonian-name belongs in the Greek domain whilst Macedonian-Identity belongs to Greek heritage...Nobody can Rubbish This!

Awarding FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs a Greek-Hellenic name would be the icing on the cake for those Slavists, who for ages schemed and plotted to take Macedonia away from the Greeks.
anonymous
15 October 2012 03:35
Hey, this great bastion of the free world, this Nobel Prize winning European Union needs to grow up and stop promoting the ethnic genocide practiced by its member states.

Greece and Bulgaria should both be forced to sign formal documents agreeing to respect their Macedonian minorities - rather than trying to deny they exist and forcibly assimilating them. This endless support for racism by the EU is starting to wear me down.

But then, the EU would actually have to be worthy of its peace prize - wouldn't it?

The EU is such a fucking racist joke.
Amelia
17 October 2012 16:35
There is no Macedonian minority in Macedonia. Macedonians are not a minority in Greece where they have lived for countless centuries. Stop calling yourself Macedonian without clarification. If you a Slavic, then say so!
Nick the Greek
18 October 2012 08:19
Macedonians are the Greeks that still live in the historic region of ancient-Macedon in Northern-Greece. These are the sole and legal cultural custodians of Alexander the Greats legacy. These are the Macedonians FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs have to contend with.

Long live Hellas...Long live the Greek-Hellenic peoples.
Nick the Greek
18 October 2012 21:57
To suggest that the ancient-Macedonians were Slavic, or just Slavic speakers is going some...quite frankly, it is a suggestion too far. A name is a source of Identity so adopt the name, get the Identity for free, this is how the Slavist mind works in FYRoM, but how could they manage to get it this wrong. A name is a source of Identity, the Macedonian-name ofcourse, has been in use in the Hellenic world for Millenniums, it is only applicable to Greek speaking Hellenic peoples, a racial group, peoples of the same speech and of the same genous, an ethnic and racial, cultural-linguistic entity. How did FYRoM's Slavist mind-architects get it this wrong, I mean, to adopt a foreign name for themselves, a Greek-Hellenic name their race, their genetic make-up, their ancestry have no earthly link or historical connections too.
How did the Slavs of FYRoM come-up with the Idea to (i) name themselves Macedonians, (ii) to name their language Macedonian, and (iii) to name their country Macedonia when it is known at the demographic level they are South-Slavs from Serbian and Bulgarian stock. Their language is a hybrid-concoction, a mixture of Serbian and Bulgarian more properly called Serbo-Bulgarian but inappropriately misnamed Macedonian-language. Their country in ancient-geographic terms was never Macedonia but Paeonia in the south and Dardania in the north, their Slavist school teachers did know that small historical detail until it was pointed out to them by reputable academics and scholars of classicist Graeco-Roman history.
Not one single historian on this planet equates FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs to the ancient-Macedonians from antiquity. Not one single historian claims the ancient-Macedonians were Slavic...so why do FYRoM's South-Slavs stake claim to the legacy of Alexander and the ancient-Kingdom of Macedon.
South-Slavs must stop calling themselves Macedonian without clarification. It has to be pointed-out to them that real and authentic Macedonians are the Greeks that still live in the historic region of ancient-Macedon in Northern-Greece. These are the sole and legal cultural descendants the legal custodians of Alexander the Greats legacy. These are the Macedonians FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs have to contend with.

Long live Hellas...Long live the Greek-Hellenic peoples.

 
Nick the Greek
20 October 2012 16:05
Macedonia, the extended-enlarged geographic region is much bigger than FYRoM, 62% - 38% respectively. The peoples living there, rightly refer to themselves as Macedonians in the geographic sense...this includes an assortment of peoples most of which are the Greeks, followed by the Slavs of FYRoM, then the Slavs of Bulgaria and lastly, the Albanians, all in that order.
All of the countries of the Greek (Haemus) peninsula, recognize the term Macedonia(n) to denote regional-geographic Identity, not ethnic or racial-Identity, and certainly not national-Identity...all of them that is, except for one. FYRoM, the newest country in the peninsula is seeking to establish itself as a nation of Macedonians and touts for recognition on that basis.
FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs insist they are ethnic and racial Macedonians. They confound the problem by claiming they are cultural-linguistic Macedonians also, much to the annoyance of Greece, followed by Bulgaria, then Serbia, and lastly Albania, all in that order.
FYRoM has problems with all of it's neighbours bar one, Turkey. With Turkey, FYRoM has the best of relations, testament to the closeness between the peoples from both countries.
With Greece, FYRoM is in dispute over the name which Greece insists belongs in the Greek domain. With Bulgaria, FYRoM is in dispute over the racial status of the peoples there, Bulgaria insists they are ethnic-Bulgarians. With Serbia, FYRoM is in dispute over religious matters and affiliations to do with the recognition of the so called (MOC) the Macedonian Orthodox Church, an unrecongnized Church established by Atheist-Communists from the old-Yugoslavia. With Albania, FYRoM is in dispute over the Indigenous or exogenous status of the ethnic-Albanians there.
In the Haemus (Balkan) peninsula, everybody sees FYRoM as the newest Slavic country wanting to establish itself there. All of FYRoM's neighbours see them as South-Slavs from Serbian and Bulgarian stock...Nobody sees them as ethnic or racial Macedonians. Nobody sees them as cultural-linguistic Macedonians. Nobody sees them as a nation of Macedonians with roots and connections to the Macedonians of old.
Macedonians are recognized ethnically and racially as a Greek speaking Hellenic peoples, indigenous to the Greek (Haemus) peninsula. For as long as those autochthonous Macedonians exist, FYRoM is not permitted to use their name for their new Slavic country, nationality, language or ethnicity.
 

 
 
 
Nick the Greek
27 October 2012 12:05
If the measure of ethnicity was calculated in feelings, then the ancient-Macedonians were Proud-Greeks...the Proudest, most fanatical Greeks to exist. They defended and protected the Hellenic world from barbarian incursions invasions and attacks.

If Pride is the result from fostering feelings and collective memories common to Greeks and the Hellenic world...then, the ancient-Macedonians were the Proudestmost-Greeks, for they exported their Pride to the farthestmost reaches of the ancient-world.

Macedonians, both past and present have always been Proud-Greeks...Proud to have maintained that Greek language and that Hellenic culture. Very Proud of their ancestors, for initiating that campaign to free the Greek city states in the east, that found themselves under Persian subjugation.

Greeks are a Proud peoples...Macedonians are No exception.

When FYRoM ex-Yugoslavs use the Macedonian name for self-Identity...they are insulting Greeks by making a mockery of the achievements of their ancestors.

When FYRoM's ex-Yugoslavs Rubbish Greek history, they are Rubbishing Hellenism's contributions to world- history.

They took something good like the classics and Rubbished them, converted them into something Vulgar!

Todays Greeks are Proud of their National-history and Cultural-Heritage. So Proud, we are prepared to defend and protect what is ours by historic-right, our cultural-heritage, our inheritance and nobody elses!
Nick the Greek
27 October 2012 16:03
Before 1913, the geographic region of Macedonia was under Ottoman Turk (control) ownership. The Greek beat the Turk in war, in battle and by conquest, to regain Macedonia (the ancient-Kingdom of Macedon) back for Hellas. The Bucharest treaty of 1913 made that process legal and binding.

The Turk never ever recognized Slavic owneship of Macedonia. The Turk, in-fact, acknowledged that he took Macedonia away from the (Rum) Greco-Romans. The Turk also acknowledged defeat in battle, and that meant he had to give Macedonia back to the Greeks.

Like the Turk, the Slav must recognize that Macedonia (the ancient-Kingdom) has always been Greek-Hellenic teritory, even when during specific periods of the past, the Slav had intermittant possession of Macedonia...brief posession, and only at various intervals.

For the Slavs of FYRoM to be taught that Macedonia belongs to them, the Slavs...at the expense and exclusion of the Greeks is a total-travesty of what has already been established and become common-knowledge, through the mainstream historical-record.

During those brief historical intervals, when the Slavs had posession of specific areas of geographic-Macedonia, they never ever used the Macedonian-name for self-Identity, nor did they ever use the term "Macedonian-language, " there was no such thing, it hadn't been invented yet. The first time we get to hear about a Macedonian-language was when the Croatian South-Slav, Marshall Jozep Broz Tito banded a group of Slavist philologists in 1944 to create it.

Autumn 1944, South-Slavs of FYRoM get a Macedonian-language to call their own...to call it by that name. Before 1944, it didn't exist, they had to make do with Bulgarian.

Before 1944, the all-pervasive Bulgarian-language prevailed in Vardaska-Banovina...FYRoM's previous name. Cyrillic-Bulgarian was used to engrave the Tombstones of their dearly departed. After 1944, those Tombstones had to be engraved using a new language, the Makedonski-language which had just been created for them.

How absurd it must appear, to bury Bulgarian speaking South-Slavs before 1944 and then, have to call them Macedonian speaking South-Slavs after 1944. Same people but different name choice for language. Slavists called it language-shift.

FYRoM's Slavist orientated rogue scholars, pseudo-historians and specialist-propagandists tried to make the Hellenic race look bad, but in the event, they made themselves, the Slavic race, look even worse in the eyes of the world.!
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