Counterspin: The Negotiations About Goce Delčev Have Never Been Conducted in Secret
There are no serious arguments or facts indicating secret negotiations conducted or to be conducted by the Macedonian Government with Sofia about the historical significance of the figure of Goce Delčev. Hence, justifying the public protests and demonstrations with such an argument is a spin
There are no serious arguments or facts indicating secret negotiations already conducted or to be conducted by the Macedonian Government with Sofia about the historical significance of the figure of Goce Delčev. Hence, justifying the public protests and demonstrations with such an argument is a spin
Author: Teofil Blaževski
The Vice President of VMRO-DPMNE, Vlado Misajlovski, held a press conference where he spoke about the reasons for the party protest announced on 15 September 2020, and in his statement, there is a spin:
Spin: He (Goce Delčev – e.n.) is part of our identity and represents a red line for our dignity. He and the historical facts are the topics Zaev’s government is negotiating with our eastern neighbour, away from the public eye. Trading his name and existence means trading our existence and what we are and will continue to be – Macedonians. In the meantime, there is no progress on the road to the European Union. The EU remains another unfulfilled promise of Zoran Zaev and his government. We haven’t heard any idea or plan…
[Source: ВМРО-ДПМНЕ/Јутјуб – Мисајловски – date: 14 September 2020]
Counterspin: The main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, has the right to schedule protests every day on any issue, including the topic “defence of the diignity and work of Goce Delčev”, and the public has the right to assess whether this is a real problem worth of protests, or is it a spin. In the case of the protest announcement in defence of Goce Delčev, VMRO-DPMNE, spins with the facts.
The spin made by Vlado Misajlovski, party’s vice president and MP, is that the figure of Goce Delčev and the historical facts are being “negotiated away from the public eye by Zaev’s government” with Bulgaria, as well as that they are“trading his name and existence”, meaning they are “trading what we are and will continue to be, that is Macedonians”.
This is a complete distortion of the truth, i.e. a spin. There is not a single substantiated argument, fact, semi-fact… that would indicate the issue of Goce Delčev has been “negotiated by Zaev’s government away from the public eye”, and that a “trade with his name and existence” is being done.
Verification of such a claim leads to the following facts:
The issue of Goce Delčev is one of the issues of the joint commission of Skopje and Sofia, established in accordance with the Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbour Relations, and Cooperation, working to clear the historical differences for various time periods and historical figures.
This commission, according to the generally public information from both sides, after clearing several topics and historical figures in different epochs, stumbled on opposing views about Goce Delečev.
The commission is not inactive. This was recently confirmed by the Chairman of that commission Dragi Gjorgiev and also confirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Integration Nikola Dimitrov in an interview with Sitel TV, who summed up that in two years, 2018 and 2019, the commission officially met 9 times, in addition to other unofficial contacts. According to the European experience of such commissions, the number of meetings and the number of already closed issues is satisfying, after which the commission comes out with recommendations.
The role of the Commission on Historical and Educational Issues is to clarify or at least explain the understandings of some of the historical figures jointly important for the history of the two countries. Dimitrov, in the interview for Sitel, on the question whether it is possible to negotiate for Goce Delčev, says:
The fact is that some of the heroes of the past, such as Goce Delčev, are important both to the Macedonian and Bulgarian people. It is up to historians to review and consider that question, and to find a way, if nothing else, to at least learn the narrative, the perspective of the other. That is the idea behind the establishment of the Commission on Historical Issues. ( 9.44 minute in the video).
The Chairman of the Macedonian part of the Commission, Dragi Gjorgiev, PhD, says that if there is no dialogue, history will continue to be a problem:
If we do not openly discuss our disagreements, ours and their views on certain events and historical figures, I believe that history will always be an obstacle between the two countries. At the same time, it is extremely important that the talks continue to take place on an equal basis and then there will be results.
Recently, in an interview with the public service NTV (MRT), Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he believes a common language will be found with Bulgaria on the issue of Goce Delčev:
We have solved three chapters, five historical figures, followed by the fourth chapter and the sixth historical figure, Goce Delčev. The Treaty forces us to find common things that unite us… There are archives here and in Bulgaria, we will sit down, we will conduct research and we will find something, history is important and it should be the basis for the future. I believe that in the forthcoming period the solutions will be found quickly. I am grateful that the Bulgarian side was patient with the elections. I send the message that we are ready to re-enter the talks immediately and build our friendship through the chapter on Goce Delčev.
As evident from the statement and the context, Zaev also talks about a solution that would come from the Commission on Historical and Educational Issues, and not about some “negotiations happening away from the public eye” or “trading the name and the existence” of Goce Delčev.
Hence, the statements of Vlado Misajlovski, MP and Vice President of VMRO-DPMNE, about the reasons for the scheduled protest of his party on 15 September 2020, – that negotiations about Delčev have been held in secret, are a distortion of the truth, i.e. spin.