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Parliamentary Committee Puts Off Meeting on North Macedonia Issue

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On a motion by Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) MP Stanislav Anastassov, the National Assembly Foreign Policy Committee on Wednesday postponed its meeting at which it was scheduled to discuss the French EU Council Presidency’s proposal for unblocking the start of Skopje’s EU accession talks in return for EU guaranteeing fulfilment of the conditions set by Sofia.
GERB-UDF MP Ekaterina Zaharieva, who is a former foreign minister, said that the Committee’s meeting on Wednesday would have been pointless and expressed readiness for revisiting the issue after the Council of Ministers adopts a decision on the issue and submits it to Parliament. MP Daniel Mitov of the same parliamentary group, who is also an ex-foreign minister, proposed that the Council of Ministers adopts its decision first, after which it can be debated by the legislature. 
According to Socialist MP Kristian Vigenin, another former foreign minsiter, any attempt at discussing the subject concerning the Republic of North Macedonia in its essence has been prevented through a procedure. "Claims that such a meeting is unnecessary are unfounded," he argued, recalling that the National Assembly can pass any resolution it deems fit and oblige the Prime Minister to take action. According to Vigenin, GERB-UDF, the MRF and Vazrazhdane are trying to abuse the Republic of North Macedonia issue. 
Socialist MP Georgi Mihaylov said that Parliament is vested with the most power in Bulgaria and that claiming that such an important issue can only be addressed by the Prime Minister is just an excuse.
Continue the Change (CC) MP Atanas Mihnev said that MRF, GERB and There Is Such a People have sabotaged this meeting, adding that CC is ready to talk to anyone at anytime about the matter. 
After the meeting, Hristo Ivanov MP of the power-sharing Democratic Bulgaria commented that while GERB claim that they support the so-called French proposal, they sabotaged the meeting. "If we miss this ‘window’ of the French EU Presidency, we could miss out on this proposal that everyone agrees is good and risk to never again see it on the table. That would be treason," Ivanov said. 
Petar Kolev of the Republic of North Macedonia’s Civic Democratic Union said it was crucial for the organizations of Macedonian Bulgarians to take a clear step forward, as expressed in the French EU Presidency’s proposal. "We Macedonian Bulgarians want the issue between the Republic of North Macedonia and Bulgaria to be resolved in such a way that the national interest of the Bulgarian people and our dignity as Bulgarians are protected," he said.
On June 15 the Council of Ministers adopted a decision according to which all proposals concerning the Republic of North Macedonia will be submitted to Parliament for approval.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on bTV that the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Foreign Ministry officials will explain there why the French proposal is the best one.

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