North Macedonia has contradictory entry rules, said Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivan Kondov in reaction to the recent refusal to let Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovatchev (EPP) into the country.
On Tuesday, North Macedonia’s Ambassador to Bulgaria, Agneza Rusi Popovska was summoned to discuss the incident.
“It is noticeable that the explanation of Ambassador Popovska and the announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia differ from the official documents handed over by the border authorities,” Kondov said on Wednesday.
“The thesis presented by them that Kovatchev was almost certainly an indirect damage to some other persons who posed a threat to public order is, to put it mildly, untenable,” he added.
Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovachev and four other people who went to celebrate in one of the Bulgarian military cemeteries in North Macedonia on 6 May were stopped at a checkpoint by the Macedonian authorities. The minister explained that the celebration is traditional, and so far, there have been no problems or controversy.
The Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs said, “Due to non-fulfilment of the conditions for entry into the Republic of Macedonia, according to the Law on Foreigners, the entry of five citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria has been suspended.”
They added that “The Macedonian police will not allow, neither now nor in the future, anyone to violate public order and tranquillity and to insult and denigrate the citizens and the state. Such persons will not be allowed to enter the territory of the state.”
It was subsequently reported that Kovacec was not considered a person of risk, but that others in his group were, which is why such a decision was taken.
Bulgaria claims, however, that those trying to cross the border were on a prohibited list, and they asked the list be made public.
He also reminded that the government in Skopje should form public support for including Bulgarians in the country’s Constitution, as per an agreement for Bulgaria to lift its veto on North Macedonia’s EU accession.
“We want to see our neighbour in the EU, but it depends on their actions,” Kondov said.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)
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