The European Union without the Province of Europe
The European Union without the Province of Europe

Today it is fashionable to comment on the priority of the regions in the policy of the European Union, which also affects the regional cooperation in the Balkans with a view to the region of Thrace, extending to three countries: Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. of stumbling over good neighborly and interstate relations.

The situation is further heated by the debate over Turkey’s future membership of the United Europe organization chart. However, after a thorough historical and geopolitical analysis, it turns out that the ancient Roman province of Europe today is outside the territory of the European Union.

Thrace [IV-VI c.] Included the districts or provinces: 1) Europe, 2) Rhodope, 3) Hemimont first, 4) own Thracia, 5) Lower Moesia and 6) Little Scythia.

We offer a vault of the diocesan division in the Roman provinces (based on the ancient Christian historian Theodoret – Historia ecclesiastica, lib. V, p. 28), which in earlier times were inhabited by Slavs and by the end of the 9th century are part of the Bulgarian kingdom. The province of Europe was located in the southeastern part of Thrace and encompassed the lands bordering the Sea of ​​Marmara to the south, the Hebros River (Maritsa) to the west and its tributary Regina (Erkene River, now Ergene) to the north. The Black Sea, which washed its eastern borders, constituted a vast diocese of the same name, the Diocese of Europe. It was under the spiritual authority of the Metropolitan of Heraclea, based in the city of Heraclea (Heraclea) on the Sea of ​​Marmara. This metropolis played an extremely important role in the first four centuries for the spread of Christianity throughout Thrace, giving a number of martyrs and saints, who glorified it in the first centuries as the ruling church in Thrace. The city of Heraclius had a high civil rank – the seat of the prefect of Thrace, so the first two Ecumenical Councils raised the ecclesiastical administrative region to an exarchate for all of Thrace, to which the Bishop of Constantinople was subordinated until his promotion to patriarchal dignity. In the 5th century it lost its leading position in Thrace and became an ordinary metropolis of Europe with 20 subordinate bishoprics, most of them on the shores of the Sea of ​​Marmara in the territory of Rep. Turkey – Gallipoli, Heronia, Turul (Corlu), Raidest (Rodosto, Rhaedestus, ancient Bizanthe), Arcadiopolis (Lule-Burgas), Theodorupolis (Theodorupolis), Visco (Visa, Byzie), Selemvryly (Silivri) The Paniot (with the town of Pania, ancient Perinthos, today’s Marmara Ereglisi), the Hariopol (ancient Hariopol, today’s Hirebulu) and others [based on the data from the diocesan catalogs: 1) The Paris Code № 1155 A, compiled by an unknown author from various older lists in the iconoclastic era, published by Prof. Karl De-Boor, Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, Gotha, 1891, Bd. XII , 3rd and 4th Heft, pp. 520-534); 2) “Epiphany” from the time of the VI Ecumenical Council, restored and published by Prof. Heinrich Gelzer in the edition of the Bavarian Academy (Ungendruckte und ungonugent veroffentlichte Texte der Notittiae episcopatuum, Munich, 1901, pp. 534-542).

From its eastern border begins the ancient province of the Rhodopes. The southernmost part of Thrace, the Rhodope region, bordering the Hebros River to the east, the Aegean Sea to the south, the Nestos River (now Mesta) to the west, and the Rhodope Mountains to the north, formed a diocese of the same name, the Diocese. Rhodope with the archpastor chief of the bishop of Trayanopolis, ancient. Doriscus (north of Dede-Agach, today Alexandroupolis, Rep. Greece). Under his spiritual care were placed 11 bishoprics: Peroia (now the town of Fero, on the right bank of the Maritsa River, north of Trayanopol), Maronia (Maronia, on the Aegean coast), Anastasiopolis (see the city of Periteorion, st. .-bulg. Peritor), Maksimianopolitan (town of Maximianopol, near Gyumyurjina) and several others with unspecified location.

To the north of Europe begins the province of Hemimont Prima. This Thracian region had borders: to the south the river Erkene, to the west – the water line of the rivers Maritsa and Tundzha, to the north – Hemos and to the east – the Black Sea. The Metropolitan of the Diocese of the same name, Hemimont I, resided in the city of Adrianople (ancient Oresteia, today’s Edirne). 9 episcopal seats were subordinated to him: the Mesembrian (now Nessebar, which until the Emperor Justinian the Great was a metropolis, under the auspices of the Aquileian Episcopate of the Danube, and from the new structure of the ecclesiastical administrative system of the Isaurian dynasty, was turned into an episcopate, as it appears in the lists of the VII Ecumenical Council), Sozopol, Develt (Develtum, south). west of Burgas), Anhialskoto, Provatskoto (town of Provat, in ruins near Provadia, above Provadiyska river, north-east of Edirne), Vulgarofigonskoto (the city of Vulgarofigon was on the left bank of one of the right tributaries of the river Erkene, today Eski-baba), the Nicene (city of Nicaea, near the village of Hafsa, southeast of Edirne).

The eastern part of the Imperium Romanum in the fourth century is estimated to have had between 24 and 26 million inhabitants (cf. Mazar O., Manuel d’etudes Byzantines, ed. Fr., Brepols, 1995, p. 79). The cities were connected by a network of excellent roads and communications, appearing in Roman guidebooks. In the Guide to Imp. Antonin is indicated is a road artery passing from Escus through the Balkans in the direction of Philippopolis, which channeled traffic from the Danube to Thrace, known as a military route from Singidumun, it passed through Naissus, Serdika, Philippopolis and led through Adrianople to Constantinople, with a deviation from this route connecting Philippopolis with Augusta Trajana and Anhialos on the Black Sea. (cf. Honigmann, E., Le Synecdemos d’Hierocles et l`Opuscule geografique de George de Chypre, Bruxelles, 1939, 635, 1-655; Miller K., Itineraria Romana, Stuttgart, 1916, ss. 495 sq.).

Europe is the sister of Cadmus, which will cross the sea from Phenicia to Greece. But the first mention of the word “Europe” is east of Heber (Maritsa). The word “Europe” – a theme (area) from Thrace – will appear on Roman maps – east of the “Rhodopes”. This is the first geographical indication of the word “Europe”. It is east of the Rhodopes (between the rivers Maritsa and Strandzha).


The former Prime Minister of Bulgaria sees a chance to please our Western partners by reversing his current position on Northern Macedonia

Boyko Borissov loves to speak in public about his exploits on the international stage. The former Bulgarian Prime Minister has always perceived the favor of foreign heads of state as the supreme recognition of his state success. That is why he continues to brag: “For the last 4 years, while we ruled, Bulgaria was the favorite in the Balkans.”

In such cases, the GERB leader usually prefers to speak in a general and bombastic manner. That is why he noticed how often and abundantly he has been focusing on Northern Macedonia lately. Bulgaria’s relations with its southwestern neighbor have been extremely strained since Borissov’s government refused to allow it to start EU membership talks in November 2020. The stumbling block was the common history of the two countries, the content and interpretation of which we still cannot understand. Sofia’s position remained unchanged after power passed to President Rumen Radev’s office. And right now Borisov suddenly spoke in a completely different way.

The change was clearly seen in one of his long monologues on a meeting with party Komsomol members on June 13. “Radev divided the state in everything. Now they have divided the people on the topic of Northern Macedonia. Which is better – to have a neighbor member of the EU and NATO, or not? “, Asked the former prime minister. He continued: “Imagine, you are Macedonians, and your neighbors, your closest people, say: you will not go to the EU, you will not go there. Will they love you? … History is an important thing. But let the historians do the work. You now with this position: we, we, we, create such enmity that generations can be hated. “

He spoke in the same vein with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at their June 17th meeting. Borissov was the first to meet him on Bulgarian soil and attacked Radev’s cabinet in front of him: “… the current caretaker government has all the rights and can negotiate with you – it can sign a new contract, do whatever it wants. But they will run away from responsibility because they always do. At the same time, Euro-Atlantic partners are lying that they are “in favor” of Northern Macedonia joining the EU. ” And the next day he appeared at a GERB briefing, at which he declared: “We as politicians must find a compromise.”

The turn made by the leader of GERB is simply amazing. It was his government that blocked the start of negotiations between Skopje and Brussels on the grounds that the good-neighborly agreement it concluded with Northern Macedonia in 2017 was not being respected. Borissov divided the “Macedonian question” between two of his deputy prime ministers, Krassimir Karakachanov and Ekaterina Zaharieva. Well, would anyone seriously expect compromises and progress in the talks with Skopje, when among the leading figures on the Bulgarian side is the leader of IMRO Karakachanov, whose ideology is based mainly on the fight against Macedonianism?

And Zaharieva, then foreign minister, was apparently instructed by Borissov to pursue a more aggressive course in Bulgarian diplomacy. This is how she came to her interview with the German newspaper Die Welt against the Macedonian authorities: “They were also quite brutal to me when I dared to criticize the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the darkest dictators – Tito … it’s like the mayor of Berlin proposing to celebrate Hitler’s death. ” and more. In general, anyone who wanted to crush the Macedonians in our country made his dream come true thanks to Borissov’s government.

The cabinet practically did not change the policy of its predecessors towards Northern Macedonia. Radev’s people refused to change the position of our country before Portugal, which leads the rotating EU presidency, and before the European Commission. We even quarreled with the Croats over their pro-Macedonian president. And Zoran Zaev, who arrived in Sofia on June 17th in the hope of influencing the new government, was forced to leave empty-handed. And just at that moment, Boyko Borissov began to appear from everywhere – for weeks now they have been hot about the divisions between nations, the ruined future of the young people on both sides and the Euro-Atlantic allies deceived by Radev.

And isn’t the GERB boss most excited about the latter – what do our Western partners think about it? Let us not forget that the European integration of Northern Macedonia (which comes in a package with Albania) has become a priority issue for European diplomats since November 2020. In practice, there is no meeting between representatives of our Foreign Ministry and another member state, which is not affected by the case. It cannot be otherwise – this is the next wave of European enlargement. And this wave broke precisely in Borissov’s government – this is how Europe and the world saw things.

However, now that he is out of power, the former prime minister has the opportunity not to follow the interests of the state, but only his own political gain. And this benefit currently dictates that he maintain behavior that is the exact opposite of his course as head of government. For him, this is a chance: first of all, to return to the lights of international politics by intervening in a case of European magnitude; secondly, to suggest that, unlike Radev and his cabinet, he is a supporter of the cause of EU enlargement and thus stands on the side of the great Western countries and the European Commission. To please them even more, nothing can say that we need to get Northern Macedonia into the Euroclub faster because of the Russian influence in the Balkans.

In fact, if GERB returns to the helm of the state tomorrow, it will most likely change its foreign policy course again. Do you notice how vague Borissov really is now? He is outraged that the caretaker government is hindering its neighbors’ European integration, but does not say anything specific about what it would have done differently if his party had ruled.

Thus, it leaves a loophole again – in case it has to turn once again if GERB enters the government again. And it will not be difficult for him – the largest political forces in our country (except perhaps the Movement for rights and freedoms – MRF) remain uncompromising against the demands of Skopje. And Borisov will be able to calmly say: I want one thing, but they force me something else. However, we will know what game he is actually playing.

Albanian Prime Minister to Zaev: I hope they will not want to call you Western Bulgaria
Albanian Prime Minister to Zaev: I hope they will not want to call you Western Bulgaria

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama made a joking comment on the dispute between Sofia and Skopje during a joint press conference after meeting with Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev at the Economic Forum in Northern Macedonia, the Sloboden Pechat newspaper reported.

“Everyone has the right to feel completely disappointed, because suddenly Bulgaria appears now and wants something more. I told Zoran Zaev that I hope they will not want to call you Western Bulgaria, because then you will have to negotiate with the Greeks again.” , Rama said on the occasion of Sofia’s repeated suspension of Skopje’s EU talks.

The topic of Albania’s and northern Macedonia’s EU talks was a major one during the press conference, and while he did not hide his disappointment with the veto, which also affects Tirana, Rama has repeatedly approached the situation with a sense of humor.

According to the Albanian Prime Minister, the postponement of the talks again is a failure of the EU, not of Albania and Northern Macedonia, which, even if they are not part of the community, are part of Europe.

“We are too young to live isolated from each other, too young to look for the future for our children, but we can do it together. We are not the ones who failed, they failed. They have their reasons and I understand that this is their home and we want to enter this house, “said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“We are Europeans without the EU, we are not the EU, but we are still Europe. The only problem is that they could still say ‘we love you, we want you to be inside, but there are some things we have to solve first. Your premises, your rooms are not ready yet, “said the Albanian Prime Minister.

He compared the EU to a lover who says “I love you” but is not ready for marriage, saying he and Zaev are good readers of Samuel Beckett and can wait, referring to the play “Waiting for Godot”, but noted that instead of just sitting there, the two countries will be active on their way to the EU, implementing European values.

For his part, Zaev said the veto could be unfair to northern Macedonia, but even more unfair to Albania.

And Portugal raised its hands: The time has not come for N. Macedonia to join the EU –

The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU has done its utmost to reach a decision on the start of accession talks with Albania and Northern Macedonia. This was stated by the representative of the presidency Anna Zakariash after a meeting of the EU Council for General Affairs in Luxembourg, the BTA correspondent in Brussels reported.

We understand the difficult political situation in which Bulgaria and the Republic of Northern Macedonia (RSM) are today. The time has not yet come, she added, pointing out that a generally acceptable solution must be found.

“We encourage the Slovenian presidency to continue our efforts, not to lose momentum and to use the proposals already made. We hope to hold talks with Skopje and Tirana as soon as possible,” Zakarias said.

Earlier, the Bulgarian representative at the meeting, the acting Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rumen Alexandrov, confirmed that the opinion of the National Assembly from 2019 regarding the PCM remains in force. He noted that Bulgaria expects Skopje to fulfill its commitments earlier this month – renunciation of territorial, minority and historical claims to Bulgaria, change of inscriptions inciting hatred towards Bulgaria in the RSM, rehabilitation of victims of Yugoslav communism, victims of his Bulgarian self-consciousness.

Bulgaria insists that the implementation of the neighborhood agreement by Skopje be included among the conditions in the future negotiating framework, Alexandrov said. Bulgaria today again supported the negotiating framework with Albania and noted Tirana’s progress on European reforms.

Bulgaria retains its veto on RN Macedonia
Bulgaria retains its veto on RN Macedonia

A change in Bulgaria’s position regarding its veto of northern Macedonia is not expected, Bulgarian National Radio reported, citing its own source.

The issue of starting EU accession talks between Northern Macedonia and Albania is being discussed at the ongoing General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, which began this morning.

Bulgaria remains in the position that there is no progress in our western neighbor in the implementation of the agreement on good neighborly relations as a whole.

We remind you that the Prime Minister of RN Macedonia Zoran Zaev and a government delegation visited Sofia on June 17th and 18th. Zaev is already talking to BSP leader Cornelia Ninova. During his meeting with the Macedonian Prime Minister, the Bulgarian caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev insisted on an open dialogue. They agreed with President Rumen Radev on 50,000 vaccines for Bulgaria to give to RN Macedonia.

Diplomat Stefan Tafrov described the meeting between Zoran Zaev and GERB leader Boyko Borissov as an attempt to use it for narrow party purposes.

A day before his visit to the Bulgarian capital, Zaev explained that no talks on the Macedonian language and identity would be held here during his visit.

We remind you that on June 11, 2021, after the last meeting of the Joint Multidisciplinary Expert Commission on Historical and Educational Issues with the Republic of Northern Macedonia, its chairman from the Bulgarian side, Prof. Angel Dimitrov, announced another failure. “The last hours have shown that it is difficult to reach an understanding for a text about Gotse Delchev,” said Angel Dimitrov.

At the previous meeting of the commission, a remark by Bulgarian historians about the textbooks in the RNM was blocked, in which the time and personality of Tsar Samuel were treated. According to Angel Dimitrov, the approach of Macedonian historians is a manifesto of a reluctance to change anything in the interpretation of the past.

The Joint Multidisciplinary Expert Commission on Historical and Educational Issues of Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia was established as a result of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, signed on August 1, 2017 and entered into force on February 14, 2018, and aimed to settle the contradictions between the two sides over a common history. As early as 2019, the then Deputy Prime Minister and leader of IMRO, Krassimir Karakachanov, warned that the talks were going on, but that no compromise could be made.

In general, the negative findings of failure are repeated after each of the meetings, as the talks were interrupted before the elections in the Republic of Northern Macedonia, which took place last year. At the same time, both the ruling and the opposition in Northern Macedonia expressed a number of hopes that after the change of power in our country there would be a reversal in our position and the veto imposed by Bulgaria on the negotiating framework for EU membership of RNM and Albania.

At the same time, attempts at influence from a number of EU member states are increasing, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaking at a virtual meeting of the Berlin Foreign Minister.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama also paid a two-day visit to Bulgaria last week.

Without a signed document: Zoran Zaev surprisingly left Sofia
Without a signed document: Zoran Zaev surprisingly left Sofia

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia Zoran Zaev will participate today in the summit of the Western Balkans in Vienna, informs the Skopje TV channel “TV 21”.

Zaev surprisingly left Sofia early in the morning, added, although he was expected to continue his visit to Bulgaria today and to sign a document with Radev’s caretaker government on relations between the two countries.

Zaev: “Any talk about the future of Europe without the Western Balkans is meaningless.”

Last night, Zaev had a second meeting with Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, according to whom it became known yesterday that the Macedonian Prime Minister had come to Sofia with a specific proposal in connection with the start of negotiations on Skopje’s accession to the EU. Talks with the Bulgarian government continued until late last night. The point of conflict in the negotiations was Zaev’s insistence on Bulgaria’s official recognition that documents between the two countries are signed in “Macedonian”.

Sofia rejects this wording and insists on the expression “official language of PCM”, as enshrined in the 2017 Treaty.

Erdogan urged the European Union to get rid of blindness and accept Turkey
Erdogan urged the European Union to get rid of blindness and accept Turkey

According to RIA Novosti from Ankara, Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan called on the EU to get rid of blindness and accept Turkey, without which it will not be able to become a center of attraction and power.

“We want to finally come to the result of our many years of striving for the EU. It is impossible for the EU to become a center of gravity and power without Turkey’s presence in it. We want the EU to get rid of the blindness it has fallen into as soon as possible,” Erdogan said. speaking at the summit of the countries of southeastern Europe in Antalya. The broadcast was conducted on Twitter by the Turkish leader.

Turkey in 1963 signed an association agreement with the EU (at that time – the EEC), and in 1987 applied for membership in the union. However, accession negotiations began only in 2005, and were repeatedly suspended due to disagreements. 16 out of 35 chapters of the negotiation dossier are now open.

Turkey beyond Erdogan: How the EU risks letting down Turkish democrats

„The Turkish president no longer commands all before him. The EU should turn its attention to supporting democratic forces in the country.“ Kati Piri

This commentary is part of an ECFR discussion on a positive agenda for the EU and Turkey. The discussion includes previous commentaries by Ibrahim Kalin and Miguel Berger.

Kati Piri is a member of the Dutch Parliament.

After being held at arm’s length for several years, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is to meet with Western leaders once again. Last week he saw US president Joe Biden, as well as several NATO and EU leaders. Next week, the European Council will decide whether to deliver on the European Union’s past promise of a “positive agenda” with Turkey – and maybe even upgrade trade relations between the two.

Early last year, Erdogan began openly encouraging hundreds of thousands of migrants to cross the border into Greece, where people got stuck in no man’s land at the border. Last summer, a military confrontation between Turkey and EU member states appeared to become a serious threat, caused by disputes over Turkey’s exploratory gas drillings in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Turkey’s supposed EU accession process has made no difference to its growing abuse of democracy and fundamental rights.

Skopje puts pressure on Radev – if he gives way, gives up Russia
Skopje puts pressure on Radev – if he gives way, gives up Russia

Brussels failed to reconcile Sofia and Skopje – Bulgaria will not give up the veto

Skopje, Rome and Western diplomacy are pushing for Rumen Radev to give the green light to EU talks. If the Bulgarian president succumbs to pressure, he will hand over Russia, which is adamantly against Northern Macedonia’s full membership in the European Union.

On Radev’s side and Russian policy are the so-called Bulgarian patriots from IMRO, NFSB and Ataka.

The extent to which there is a political mandate in Bulgaria to decide before the elections, where the Roadmap will be and what it would contain – this is a key factor in determining the outcome of the dispute with Bulgaria. This was said by RS Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, who is an ethnic Albanian.

Regarding the joint visit of President Stevo Pendarovski and Rumen Radev to Rome, he mentioned that this is an important step in building trust and normalizing communication between the two countries. According to him, there is symbolism in this meeting, but also essence, “because it was possible to talk openly about all issues and ways to overcome the blockade.”

Obviously, only the President of Bulgaria has a full political mandate, all other institutions have a technical mandate related to the organization of elections. However, I often say that the technical government is not a state election commission and can decide to start negotiations, but here President Radev is very important and that is why communication in Rome was very important and continues at all levels. “There was communication between prime ministers, we exchanged certain documents with the foreign minister, we expect a meeting of prime ministers and ministers in the coming days, and eventually a dynamic will be agreed to use those 20 days to find a solution,” Osmani said.

A change in Bulgaria’s position on the start of Northern Macedonia’s EU membership talks cannot be expected. This was stated by Prime Minister Stefan Yanev and Foreign Minister Svetlan Stoev after meetings with EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhei and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, who were in Sofia in an attempt to mediate in resolving the dispute with Skopje.

A similar position was expressed by President Rumen Radev, who pointed out that EU enlargement must be based on achieving sustainable results in building good neighborly relations in the Balkans.

“That is why we want to see not declarations, but clear guarantees for our national security and for our national interests,” Radev was quoted as saying in a press release from the presidency.