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Bulgaria offers EU job to kinswoman sentenced in Macedonia July 20, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Macedonia.
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Skopje tried to punish her for emphasising her Bulgarian roots. Sofia offered her a home and an attractive job.

Spaska Mitrova, a 25-year-old Macedonian woman, is the latest assistant of the Bulgarian nationalist Member of European Parliament Dimitar Stoyanov. She landed the job after being tried and jailed in Macedonia in an acrimonious divorce case with her ex-husband Voijslav Savic.

Ms Mitrova: ‘It’s not just moral but material support that she needs,’ the MEP said

Bulgaria says Macedonian justice was biased against her because she openly identified herself as a Bulgarian and obtained a Bulgarian passport in April 2009 – an outrage for many Macedonians.

One court stripped Ms Mitrova of the custody of her three-year-old daughter Susann, born from the marriage with Mr Savic. Another court gave her a suspended sentence and a fine on top of a previsouly-served three-month jail term for not granting her former husband sufficient access to their child. Bulgaria has protested the trials as being unfair and non-transparent.

Mr Stoyanov, who is one two MEPs from the nationalist Ataka party in the EU assembly, said he offered to hire Ms Mitrova as his assistant and she simply accepted. She will be permanently based in the southwestern Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad, where Ataka has pledged to provide her with accommodation and legal advice.

“Her job will be to collect and provide me with information about other Bulgarians who are being intimidated and discriminated like her in Macedonia,” Mr Stoyanov told the Sofia-based daily, 24 Chasa. “It’s not just moral but material support that she needs and she will receive it from Ataka.”

In a separate move, Bulgarian MEPs from all political parties have brought the Mitrova case before the EU’s enlargement chief, comissioner Stefan Fuele. They say it raises questions of whether EU applicant Macedonia is in compliance with membership criteria.

Bulgaria and Macedonia have a bumpy relationship. It stems from colliding interpretations of their common history, although Sofia was the first to recognize its tiny neighbor when it split from the former Yugoslavia in 1992.

Most ordinary Bulgarians consider Macedonians their kinsmen and refuse to acknowledge the existence of an autonomous Macedonian nation and language, dismissing Skopje’s official line on the country’s identity. Nationals of the two countries understand each other without translation.

Macedonia in turn insists that Bulgaria should recognise a Macedonian minority in its southwest, a demand rejected as preposterous by Sofia. The Bulgarian constitution does not allow for national minorities. Meanwhile, the EU parliament has adopted repeated resolutions urging Skopje to keep good neighborly relations and to avoid “hate speech.”

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