ISSN 2330-717X

Macedonian Film Infuriates Bulgaria

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Bulgarian MEPs outraged over a Macedonian film that depicts wartime Bulgarians as fascists are calling on Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle to confront Skopje over the forthcoming movie.

MEPs Andrey Kovachev (EPP), Evgeni Kirilov (S&D) and Stanimir Ilchev (ALDE) have signed a letter, a copy of which was obtained by EurActiv, in which they state their concern over the “attempt to manipulate Balkan history” and “spread hate” on the part of the EU candidate country against its neighbours.

The Macedonian film “Third Halftime” is being filmed in Macedonia as a lavishly funded international production, depicting a football match played in 1942 between two teams of the Bulgarian football league – Levksi and Makedonia.

According to information obtained by EurActiv, the film depicts the Bulgarians as fascists, plotting to kill the coach of the “Macedonian” team, who is of Jewish descent.

“The film should make Macedonians come together,” according to official statements quoted by the press in Macedonia. However, Lazar Mladenov, president of the Bulgarian Cultural Club in Skopje, told EurActiv that mass scenes in the film stage a “very heavy anti-Bulgarian atmosphere”.

The film is done with the support of the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who helped grant the production a state contribution of €1 million.

The general sponsor of the film is Sparkasse Bank, a part of the German banking group that has been asked by Bulgarian MEPs to withdraw its support.

In the letter to Füle, MEPs said that the “FYROM policy is running counter to our European values” and shows Skopje is breaching European acquis, citing various texts from European Parliament resolutions.

Significantly, the Bulgarian MEPs used the acronym FYROM , or Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, even though Bulgaria was the first country in the world to recognize the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, after it seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Athens insists that Macedonia use FYROM in a long-running dispute with its Balkan neighbour over Greece’s argument that “Republic of Macedonia” implies a claim over its northern region.

In addition, Greece considers that Skopje is misappropriating large chunks of its ancient history. Similarly, Bulgaria considers that Macedonia is cherry-picking heroes and glorious episodes from its medieval history and the 19th- and early-20th century struggle against Ottoman domination.

Recently, Skopje angered Athens by erecting a giant statue of a ‘warrior on horseback’ resembling Alexander the Great in the centre of Skopje. Both nations claim Alexander as a native son.

Kirilov told EurActiv that the Gruevski government had “overdone it” with nationalist activities, aimed at boosting its popularity. “This may have helped him win the elections, but the Macedonian people will soon realise that this is not in the country’s interest,” Kirilov said.

Commissioner Füle’s office told EurActiv they had just received the letter, and had requested his representatives in Skopje to provide more information.

Original article

EurActiv

EurActiv publishes free, independent policy news and facilitates open policy debates in 12 languages.

4 thoughts on “Macedonian Film Infuriates Bulgaria

  • Avatar
    October 31, 2011 at 8:59 am
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    Why are people ashame of their history? You Bulgarians were on our (German) side during the WW2 and WW2 movies about Germany is OK with us because it’s history being told and that we can’t make the same mistake again. I guess that Balkan will never learn.

    Pathetic!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    November 1, 2011 at 9:19 am
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    That’s right, why are people ashamed of history? I mean Macedonians have links to Bulgarians and Serbians like the Greeks have links to their Turkish counterparts, so much so that we still today have Turkish family names. Just look at the Athens phone directory and you will see that 1 in 4 surnames is Turkish! We only became Greeks in the late 18th Century! So please, enough of history and lets all be friends.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      November 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm
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      a very bad impersonation of a greek…you Skopjans are fools.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    November 6, 2011 at 6:15 am
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    user kostas67reth is not a Greek people..
    its a F.Y.R.Omian woman from Skopje who’s just forgeting that her country FYROM is a turkalbanian nest and an islamic emirate..
    she also forgets that the area she lives was under the ottoman turks for 500 years..100 years more than Greece was..
    so pathetic not only stealing Greeks’ region names and history but trying to impersonate them as well instead of doing something to take their country out of the misery and poverty…thats so sad ..they are blindly fascists

    Reply

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