Bulgaria-North Macedonia | The Dispute over National Identity



In June 2021, Bulgaria again blocked the start of European Union accession talks with North Macedonia as part of a long-standing dispute over national identity. While Bulgaria argues that the Macedonians are part of the Bulgarian nation, the Macedonians argue that they have their own, separate national identity and language. So, what lies behind the dispute?

Hello and welcome! My name is James Ker-Lindsay. Here I take an informed look at International Relations with a focus on territorial conflicts, secession, independence movements and new countries. If you like what you see, please do subscribe. If you want more, including exclusive content and benefits, consider becoming a channel member. Many thanks!

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From the very first emergence of the Principality of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian state sought to take control of Macedonia. In the 1890s the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (VMRO) led efforts to liberate the territory. This was followed by several Bulgarian attempts to take Macedonia, including during the Balkan Wars and during the First and Second World War. However, following the end of the Second World War, Macedonia became a separate territory within Yugoslavia, then becoming an independent state in 1991. However, while Bulgaria was willing to accept its sovereign statehood, it argued that the Macedonians could not be regarded as a separate people. Instead, they should be understood as Bulgarians and that they speak a dialect of Bulgarian, something that the Macedonians themselves now fundamentally reject. In response Bulgaria has now blocked the start of EU accession talks until the matter is resolved.

CHAPTERS
0:00 Introduction and Titles
0:33 National Identity and the Bulgarian-Macedonian Dispute
1:26 Geography and Demographics of Bulgaria and North Macedonia
2:23 Bulgaria’s Attempts to Claim to Macedonia
4:34 The Emergence of Macedonian National Identity
6:39 Tensions between Bulgaria and North Macedonia
8:59 Bulgaria Blocks EU Accession Talks with North Macedonia
11:22 The Dispute over Bulgarian and Macedonian Identity

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FURTHER READING & USEFUL SOURCES

2017 Treaty of Friendship
Prespa Agreement (2018)

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Secession and State Creation: What Everyone Needs to Know [PRE-ORDER]
The Cyprus Problem: What Everyone Needs to Know
Kosovo: The Path to Contested Statehood in the Balkans
The Foreign Policy of Counter-Secession
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KEYWORDS

#Bulgaria #NorthMacedonia #Macedonia
#InternationalPolitics #CurrentAffairs #InternationalRelations
#Secession #Statehood #Independence
#InternationalLaw #InternationalHistory

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