EFA wants to include discrimination against minorities into the rule of law mechanism

The Macedonian minority in Bulgaria still faces discrimination and harassment by the state, the police, and nationalist hooligans

The European Free Alliance considers it necessary to include discrimination against national minorities on the grounds to apply the EU rule of law mechanism against its own member states. Last Saturday, in an event in Sandanski, Bulgaria, EFA Spitzenkandidatin Maylis Roßberg and President Lorena López de Lacalle called for justice for EU national minorities. “The protection of minority rights is not a state issue but an EU issue. If a state is mistreating their minorities, they need to face consequences from the EU!”, said EFA Spitzenkandidatin Maylis Roßberg.

EFA visited Sandanski the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, represented in our family by our member party OMO Ilinden-Pirin. Macedonians are strongly discriminated in Bulgaria, and face harassment by the state, the police, and nationalist hooligans. The delegation of EFA could also feel this discrimination during the visit. We were closely followed and surveilled by the Bulgarian police all the time. What we could see is only the top of the iceberg of what Macedonians in Bulgaria face every day.

Another example of discrimination is the situation of our member party OMO Ilinden-Pirin. They are currently banned from registering as an official party in Bulgaria, even though they were once officially recognised. It coincided with the moment when Bulgaria was a candidate to access the EU. After accession, they banned the party of the Macedonian minority again, which continues in the same situation even though the European Court of Human Rights has consistently failed in their favour. “When countries apply for joining the EU, they are asked to comply with some standards to become members. But once they are inside, it seems that they can go backward and that nothing happens. This must change!”, stated EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle.

Applying the rule of law

“If the EU is serious about its own values and citizens rights, it should be willing to take action against its own member states. This is why the rule of law mechanism should also include the discrimination of minority groups by their member states”, concluded EFA Spitzenkandidatin. The co-president of OMO Ilinden-Pirin, Stoyko Stoykov added: “We are striving for our rights, for opening a dialogue with the Bulgarian state. We are convinced that only external pressure of the European institutions can help us”.