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North Macedonia: protests and violence against the agreement with the EU that would overcome Bulgaria’s veto on EU accession talks

Le proteste di ieri a Skopje (Foto ANSA/SIR)

Forty-seven policemen injured, 11 of whom with severe injuries; damage all over the city. This is what happened on the fourth day of protests in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, where protesters tried to enter the national Parliament building. The reason for such discontent is the so-called French proposal to start EU accession talks that would involve a number of compromises to overcome Bulgaria’s veto. Sofia thinks that a rhetoric of hate is taking place against the Bulgarian minority and the Bulgarian State, and also mentions historical reasons as it asks for Macedonia’s Constitution to be amended. According to the Macedonian opponents to such proposal, this would demean the national identity. The Prime Minister of Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski, stated that “he expected tensions to escalate” but this “does not befit a NATO country and an EU candidate. Last night, protesters moved out of the government building, crossed the bridge on the Vardar river, then headed for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ask the Foreign Minister, Bujar Osmani, to resign. Actually, such protest is supported by the largest opposition party, the Vmro-Dpmne, and has been held to coincide with the visit of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who is in Skopje to encourage politicians to accept the French proposal. By the end of this week, the Macedonian Parliament is expected to take position on the French proposal, that has already been approved by the Bulgarian MPs.

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