28 November 2008 Sofia _ Bulgaria’s nationalist Ataka party argues Fyromia and Serbia can only become EU members once they return territories taken from Bulgaria after the First World War.
Dimitar Stoyanov, a member of the European Parliament for the Ataka party, made the claim in a letter he posted to Serbia’s ambassador to Sofia, after the Belgrade envoy refused to meet him.
The Ataka party leader Volen Siderov, later announced that they would demand that Belgrade’s and Skopje’s bid to join the European Union hinges on them returning what Bulgaria refers to the ‘Western Outlands.’
This includes the areas around the towns of Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad in eastern Serbia and the town of Strumica in eastern FYROM.
The demand comes as Bulgaria marked the 89th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Neuilly which was agreed after the country was defeated in the First World War.
The treaty, signed on November 27 1919 at Neuilly-sur-Seine in France, established borders between Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Under the treaty, Bulgaria ceded its Aegean coastline to Greece, and its western territories, which include the present-day towns of and Strumica, to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, present-day Serbia and FYROM.
The treaty, known in Bulgaria as the ‘Second National Catastrophe’ was also forced to reduce its army to 20,000 men and pay more than $400 million in reparations.
Ataka’s demands come as Bulgaria’s political parties prepare for next year’s general elections.
This has seen an upsurge in right-wing rhetoric in recent weeks, with another hardline nationalist party accusing Belgrade of human rights abuses against ethnic Bulgarians in Serbia last week, and tensions with Bulgaria’s substantial ethnic Turk minority rising.
Ataka is currently third in opinion polls behind Mayor of Sofia Boris Boyko’s opposition GERB party and Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev’s Socialist Party.
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