Maria Bakalova
The signing of the bilateral declaration became a watershed in the flow of the alternating and often quite ambiguous official Bulgarian policy and attitude towards Macedonia in 90s. Against the background of official rejection of anything that can be described as ‘Macedonian language,’ the fact that the phrase ‘Macedonian language’ appears in an official document, signed by Bulgaria cannot be but treated as a significant sign of change. Although the declaration refers to Macedonian language as the official language under the Macedonian Constitution, it still can be seen as an official renouncement, though not an explicit one, of the political claims about the character of present Macedonia, the Macedonian language and people.
An Open-ended Conclusion 
In a broader historical perspective the non-confrontational trend of Bulgarian transition policies regarding Macedonia seems to be quite obvious – compared to previous historical periods, the renouncement of territorial claims over Macedonia is a serious proof of non-confrontationalism. Historical accumulations and complex present-day realities make the trend highly ambiguous. A great part of this ambiguity is due to the existing deep national feeling in Bulgaria towards Macedonia. There are sound historical reasons for the salience of these feeling and it is not going to be eradicated but rather transformed and ‘up-graded’ to contemporary realities. In this sense, the appearance and political upholding of the non-confrontational trend is of considerable significance. The fact that confrontational, irrational nationalism is not endorsed as the official state policy towards Macedonia discourage and downplays the extreme views and positions at the extra-political level. 
Because of this and under the influence of the changed realities Bulgarian extra-political understanding is leaving behind views and positions which (though not perceived as such in Bulgaria) bear implicit confrontation. The transformation can be exemplified by the view of a well-known Bulgarian historian (and historians, as suggested above, are among the hardest supporters of Bulgarian ‘romantic’ and historically-based nationalism) that “[I]t is absolutely incontestable that historically Macedonia has been predominantly a Bulgarian one. Yet a long-lasting separateness cannot but results even if not alienation, than at least in some difference. This difference on its part cannot but lead to another final product in terms of language, nation, statehood.” [35] There are questions from the large “Macedonian issue,” which can stand between the two countries. Bulgarian non-confrontationalism regarding Macedonia is exemplified in the attempt not to focus on the “national issues,” which can create only confrontation in the bilateral relations. Thus, rather than solving or erasing the reasons for clash between Bulgarian national/ist feeling its contemporary Macedonian ‘counterpart,’ the non-confrontational trend is in evading them. Because “national conflicts are seldom “solved” or “resolved.” …they are more likely to fade away, to loose their centrality and salience as ordinary people – and political entrepreneurs – turn to other concerns, or as a new generation grows up to whom old quarrels seem largely irrelevant” (Brubaker, 1998: 280). 
35.  See interview with Prof. Andrei Pantev, published in Standard daily, November 24, 1998.
  • Alexandrov, Evgeni et al. 1997. Vanshnata politika na Bulgaria sled 10.XI.1989. 1997. [Bulgarian Foreign Policy after November 19 1989]. Sofia: National Institute for International Studies. Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 
  • Brubaker, Rogers. 1996. Nationalism Reframed. Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Georgiev, Andrej and Emil Tsenkov. 1993. Bulgaria and the Recognition of Macedonia 1991-1992. ‘Ethnic Conflicts in Eastern Europe: Security and Human Rights Implications” Series. Sofia: Center for the Study of Democracy.
  • Georgievski, Lubcho. If Gotse Delchev Was Alive in 1945, He Would Have Finished up in Idrizovo, originally published in the Skopje newspaper “Puls” 7 July and 14 July 1995, at http://makedon.mtx.net/joint_d.htm. 
  • Ilchev, Ivan. 1992. Makedonskiyat vazel. [“The Macedonian Knot”]. In Politicheski izsledvania, 1992 (2), 70-81.
  • Joint Declaration, Bulgaria – Macedonia, signed on February 22, 1999 at http://makedon.mtx.net/joint_d.htm
  • Kraglata massa - Stenografski protokoli (3.01-15.15.1990) [The Roundtable - Stenographic Protocols ]. 1998. Rumyana Kolarova and Dimitr Dimitrov (compl.). Sofia: Biblioteka 48, Dr. Zhelyo Zhelev Foundation
  • Memorandum. 1997. On the Relations between Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia (the language dispute). Macedonian Scientific Institute, Sofia. At: http://members.xoom.com/_XMCM/makinst/memorandum.htm. 
  • Pantev, Plamen. 1995. Coping with Conflict in the Central and Southern Balkans, St Kliment Ohridski Press
  • Parvanov, Anton. 1995. “National Question in Bulgarian Foreign Policy (1878 - 1989). Historical Foundations and Contemporary Priorities.” In Comparative Balkan Parliamentarism, L. Grigorova-Mincheva (ed.). Sofia: International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations. 
  • Perry, Duncan M. 1995. “Bulgarian Nationalism: Permutations on the Past.” In Contemporary Nationalism in East Central Europe, Paul Latawski (ed.), Macmillan Press. 41-65.
  • Popov, Stefan. 1999. Makedonia: Gledni tochki [“Macedonia: Viewpoints”]. Sofia: CLS.
  • Poulton, Hugh. 1993 [1991]. The Balkans. Minorities and States in Conflict. London: Minority Rights Group.
  • Prevelakis, George. 1996. “The Return of the Macedonian Question.” In The Changing Shape of the Balkans, eds. F. W. Carter and H. T. Norris. The SOAS/GRC Geopolitical Series 5, UCL Press.
  • Velev, Grigor et al. 1998. Bulgarska natsionalna doktrina. Bulgaria prez dvadeset i parvia vek. Vtora chast [Bulgarian National Doctrine. Bulgaria in the 21 Century. Part two], Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Science. 
  • Zhelev, Zlelyo, 1997. Obrashtenia na presidenta kam naroda i parlamenta [Presidential Addresses to the Nation and Parliament]. Georgi Georgiev-Gesh (ed.) Plovdiv.

  • Zhelev, Zlelyo. 1998. V goliamata politika. [In Great Politics]. Sofia: Publishing House Troud.
     Web-designer: Plamen Ivanov - KOTA - Sofia - Bulgaria