Bulgaria blocks North Macedonia Frontex agreement

Frontex; Photo: EU Delegation to Serbia

SOFIA – Bulgaria is the only country blocking the signing of a border management agreement between North Macedonia and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – Frontex, EURACTIV reports.

The reason for the dispute is that Bulgaria does not recognise the language of North Macedonia as “Macedonian”, as the authorities in Skopje call it. Bulgaria considers it as a dialect of Bulgarian.

Also, Bulgaria conditions a change in terminology regarding Macedonian language in order to allow progress in drafting a final negotiating framework.

“Bulgaria does not recognize the existence of a separate so-called ‘Macedonian language’ and therefore cannot agree to any reference to it in EU documents. The reference to the “official language” of this country enables the continuation of institutional work”, reads the document in which Radio Free Europe had an insight.

An agreement on co-operation in border management would enable Frontex to conduct joint operations and send its teams to border areas to stop illegal immigration, especially in cases of sudden changes in migration flows, and cross-border crime and, if necessary, to provide technical and operational assistance to national border forces.

Frontex has previously signed such agreements with Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. A similar agreement has been initialed with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but is awaiting finalization.