EU warns Bulgaria against obstructing North Macedonia

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The European Union on Tuesday warned Bulgaria that it risks undermining security in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe if it continues to block EU membership talks for North Macedonia.

EU leaders gave Albania and North Macedonia the green light in March to begin accession negotiations but no date was set for the talks to start.

Now Bulgaria is insisting that North Macedonia formally recognize that its language has Bulgarian roots and stamp out what it says is anti-Bulgarian rhetoric.

German European Affairs Minister Michael Roth, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said that his country is doing all it can to end the standoff, but EU diplomats are doubtful that a breakthrough will be made anytime soon.

“Anything else would be a very severe political mistake at the expense of stability and security in the Western Balkans, and that ultimately would massively endanger the security of Europe as a whole – and all should be aware of that,” Roth told reporters.

North Macedonia and Albania were actually meant to start EU membership talks last year, but France blocked them, saying the process of joining the 27-nation bloc should be reformed first.

The logjam was freed after the European Commission revised the process for holding their talks.

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