“The issue of the referendum initiated by VMRO-DPMNE in the Republic of North Macedonia will refer to the friendship treaty concluded with Bulgaria, because this is the root of the problem,” stated after a meeting of the executive committee of VMRO-DPMNE, the chairman of the opposition party Hristiyan Mitskoski.
The question, clarified “after one month of in-depth consultations with experts, professors, lawyers, MPs, coalition partners” will read: “Are you in favor of repealing the Law on the Ratification of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation between the Republic of North Macedonia and Bulgaria, published in the State Gazette of January 18, 2017?”
The wording was sought in such a way as to eliminate the argument that the parliament of North Macedonia has nothing to do with the decision on a referendum, since the ratification of the treaty with Bulgaria takes place in the parliament, Mickoski explained. He specified that at least 100 signatures should be collected in the next week in order to submit the proposal to the legislative body and, after approval, the deadlines for collecting the necessary 150,000 signatures would begin to run. The decision of the opposition party is to demand a mandatory referendum in the country.
Mickoski stated that VMRO-DPMNE supports the integration of the Republic of North Macedonia into the EU, but does not support the “assimilation, change of historical facts and distortion of identity” that are happening because of the Treaty of Friendship signed in 2017 between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia , signed by then Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Boyko Borisov.
VMRO-DPMNE will call for a “yes” vote on the issue proposed by them, which essentially means the termination of the agreement with Bulgaria. “It is the source and the beginning of all the problems for (the Republic of Northern) Macedonia and the foundation on which Bulgaria builds its maximalist demands. The termination of this treaty will mean the termination of demands to change textbooks that challenge the language, history and culture,” Mickoski said .
“The government and Kovačevski said that historical issues were not a topic of conversation, but it turned out that they were a condition for negotiations with the EU. People were not asked about it. Macedonia was put in a subordinate position. We gave up on many things, and in return we got nothing but an increase in poverty. The government should allow people to speak,” Mickoski said.