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Bulgarian Prime Minister "not opposed"
to the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria

June 19, 2008

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Sergei Stanishev Bulgarian Prime Minister, Sergei Stanishev appeared on June 17th as a special guest speaker at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. The topic of discussion at this forum was Transatlantic Security that Endures: Anchoring Southeast Europe and the Black Sea Region.

In response to a question from a representative of the United Macedonian Diaspora about on the issue of the recognition of the Macedonian minority of Bulgaria, Stanishev explained that the Bulgarian Constitution allows the right of self-determination of any group, and asserted that he is not opposed to the Macedonian minority’s recognition. However, the Prime Minister passed responsibility onto the Bulgarian Judiciary Committee for failing to do so. The Prime Minister did not indicate when he foresees official recognition of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

In relation to the European Court of Human Rights’ 2005 judgment in the case of United Macedonian Organisation "Ilinden" - PIRIN and others v. Bulgaria, in which the court found that the dissolution of UMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN constituted a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Prime Minister did not provide a clear answer. Stanishev gave no indication as to when UMO Ilinden, a political party defending the rights of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, would be re-registered. As re-registration is an integral part of the execution of the case, various bodies of the Council of Europe have urged the re-registration of the party. However this is something that Bulgaria has failed to do in the three years following the 2005 judgment.

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