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The group of experts on constitutional changes concluded, during the meeting on Friday, on the revision proposal of the Constitution of Skopje.
The proposal will be submitted to the government, which will then have to forward to the parliament a relevant initiative for the processing of the proposal by the competent parliamentary committees.
The head of the expert group, Margarita Tsača Nikolovska, stated that the amendments concern mainly the preamble of the Constitution with the addition of various ethnicities and in particular Bulgarians, Croats, Montenegrins, Slovenes, Jews, and (Balkan) Egyptians.
The Prime Minister of the state, Dimitar Kovacevsky, said that from Monday the government will be examining the proposal of the expert committee, also inviting the leader of the largest opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, which opposes this amendment to the Constitution, to a meeting in order to examine the European course of the country.
The possibility of amending the Constitution, on the basis of an agreement between Skopje and Bulgaria, in order to include the Bulgarian minority living in the country, upsets Skopje, with relations between the two countries being strained.
Bulgaria has blocked the start of Skopje’s accession negotiations with the EU for two years due to open ethnic, linguistic, and historical differences between the two countries, which has provoked strong reactions from Skopje.
However, last summer, the two countries reached an agreement, based on a proposal from the European Union, under which Sofia would lift its veto on Skopje’s opening of accession negotiations with the EU, provided that the state will proceed to amend its Constitution, with the inclusion of the Bulgarian minority living in the country.
This agreement provoked strong reactions from Skopje’s largest opposition party, the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE, which has generally declared that it will not consent to such an amendment to the country’s Constitution.
The amendment of the Constitution requires a 2/3 majority in the Parliament, which the government in Skopje and the parties supporting the agreement with Bulgaria do not currently have.
According to the latest population census carried out in 2021 in Skopje, Bulgarians make up only 0.2% of the country’s population (a total of 3,500 people), a fact which the official Sofia disputes, considering the percentage of Bulgarians in Skopje to be much larger.
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