The Balkans Need Europeanised Reconciliation

Bulgaria’s Firm Position against North Macedonia

15 March 2021

Spasimir Domaradzki

Visegrad Insight Fellow

The ghosts of the past keep the Balkan societies in limbo. While the EU looks at the Western Balkans through its narrow enlargement perspective and encourages reconciliation among the prospective members, the region requires a massive reconciliation initiative embracing future and negotiating candidates, as well as new and old member states.

The joint commemoration of historical events, endless gestures of humility, perpetual accenting of forgiveness, museums of shared suffering and endless underlining of the common future. These are the indispensable elements of reconciliation at the European level.

Even countries exposed to 45 years of communist rhetoric and anti-imperialist interpretation managed to embrace these rituals acknowledging the value and importance of these processes for their political stability, social serenity and economic prosperity.

At the same time, that does not mean that suddenly the national grievances disappeared, that the countries abandoned history and that the old hatreds evaporated. History remains an essential element of European politics that frequently sparks ire when efforts to bleach the past become too obnoxious.

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Spasimir Domaradzki

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Warsaw and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Lazarski University in Warsaw.

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