The president of the country, Stevo Pendarovski, spoke about the need for a crystal clear legal and political procedure to change the constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia in his annual address to the parliament. 

In his words, the change in the basic law must be made without pressure or against anyone's will, and the people's representatives must keep in mind that "the very content of the specific proposal, the inclusion of Bulgarians and parts of other nations in the Constitution, in no way destroys the Macedonian identity, and those who are against it now, if they really believe that the EU has been a strategic goal of the country since 1991 until today, and if they are against it today, how will they vote for this constitutional change when they are in power".

"The French proposal (for a negotiating framework), for which we were unprecedentedly divided, caused many controversies, but all of them were directly or indirectly related to the fear of a threat to the identity of Macedonians and the Macedonian language.

Referring to the thesis that "only as Bulgarians can we enter the European Union", I want to emphasize that there is absolutely no way to turn a Macedonian into a Bulgarian.

These are two different identity codes, two different peoples with their specific ethnogenesis.

There is no such example in history when an agreement changes the national feeling of an entire people," said Pendarovski, according to whom the protests against the proposed negotiation framework, which the opposition organized in the summer of this year,

"And five months on, I am deeply convinced that the position I expressed, that the decision to accept the modified French proposal, was neither a historic triumph nor a historic failure, and can withstand reasoned criticism today.

At the same time, I refuse to believe that the political goal or priority of the French president or, for example, the German chancellor is to dehumanize the Macedonian people in order to bring us into Europe as Bulgarians," Pendarovski stressed.

According to Pendarovski, the obligation to change the constitution is not related to the opening of Bulgarian clubs in the country, but the impression remains that this is a matter of organized activity that does not contribute to building trust between Skopje and Sofia.

"With the tension created by the opening of these clubs, unfortunately the other side chose a confrontational instead of a cooperative approach, which is completely in sync with the public rhetoric of the Bulgarian historians in the Joint Commission, who insist that history dominates the entire bilateral agenda, not just one of its segments," said Pendarovski.

According to him, it is a fact that "there is no systematic violation of the rights of the Bulgarian minority, their ability to open clubs where they want and as much as they want, but in strict compliance with Macedonian laws, which are compatible with European ones, should not be restricted."

Regarding the opposition's thesis that there should be guarantees that the change in the constitution of North Macedonia will be the last request to the country in the negotiation process, Pendarovski pointed to the fact that Bulgaria and Romania again did not receive the green light for Schengen. 

The President of Germany called on the RSM to recognize the Bulgarian community

"If two EU members were blocked from entering one of the most important projects of the single European space, of course no one can give guarantees to a candidate country that has just started negotiations," said Pendarovski.

According to him, the government of North Macedonia should make an effort during the negotiations to include in the teams experts proposed by both the civil organizations and the opposition, because the negotiations will exceed the mandate of one government and will last longer if not harness the entire potential of the country.

Stevo Pendarovski