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Toward an Exit Point from the Enlargement Cul-de-Sac Posed by the Macedonian-Bulgarian Dispute

The Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Skopje, in conjunction with the Balkan Trust for Democracy-The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the National Endowment for Democracy is proud to present its multi-perspective study on the Bulgarian-Macedonian dispute. This study, entitled: “Toward an Exit Point from the Enlargement Cul-de-Sac Posed by the Macedonian-Bulgarian Dispute,” is authored by Katerina Kolozova (North Macedonia), and Stefan Detchev (Bulgaria), who both present their own analyses, and seeks to find resolutions to the dispute, through a multi-policy approach, which is both introspective and proscriptive, offering a balanced and unbiased approach, which also examines but does not solely rely upon similar disputes among different countries in the past (French-German, German-Polish, Polish-Ukrainian, Polish-Russian, Hungarian-Slovak, Greek-Macedonian, etc). The study offers a model of resolving identity disputes, overcoming nationalism, promoting cooperation, and moving beyond simple historical or cultural argumentation in favour of real, concrete solutions. Likewise, and of great importance, it also serves to unblock the EU enlargement process and also provide model solutions for any possible future dispute of a similar nature that might damage the EU integration processes in the Western Balkans. One of the biggest through lines throughout the study is the need to completely overhaul the education system, and the production of textbooks in both countries in order to both better reflect the actual historical state of affairs from a neutral angle, while simultaneously allowing for the acceptance and appreciation of cultural differences and perspectives. Many other recommendations are made, and the analyses produce many practical solutions, and clarifications of ways to move past the current deadlock between the two countries.