Petar Todorov: ‘Atmosphere is Worsening’ in Bulgaria-North Macedonia Commission

The atmosphere in the joint North Macedonia-Bulgaria history commission has deteriorated, and if things don’t improve the current deadlock will continue, Petar Todorov, a Macedonian member of the commission, told BIRN.

Until the spring of 2018, the members of the history commission with Bulgaria, as it is commonly called in North Macedonia, or the Multidisciplinary Commission for Historical and Educational Issues, to use its official name, were not well known.

They had a certain profile in their respective academic spheres and fields of research, but this all changed after earlier that year North Macedonia and Bulgaria signed a landmark friendship treaty. And this, among other things, stipulated the formation of the joint commission.

Its task was to find common ground on many disputed historical events and figures and to produce recommendations on how to amend history books in both countries and possibly jointly celebrate some holidays, reflecting this new common ground.

As the many disputes on history again took centre stage, especially after Bulgaria blocked North Macedonia’s EU accession in late 2020, citing the so-called history dispute – in which Sofia insists that the Macedonian identity and language have Bulgarian origin – some members of the current commission became much better known in North Macedonia.

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