On Saturday, July 16, the North Macedonian parliament voted to move forward with a French-brokered plan to end a dispute with Bulgaria. It was approved after days of heated debate when opposing members of parliament abstained from voting by leaving the room. The French plan involves North Macedonia changing its constitution in order to recognise a Bulgarian minority within the country and passing measures to prevent hate speech against Bulgarians and other minorities. In response, Bulgaria would presumably lift its veto on North Macedonia’s EU membership accession.

North Macedonia has been a candidate for European Union membership for 17 years, however, first Greece and then Bulgaria vetoed the movement forward. In order to satisfy Greece, the name of the country was changed from Macedonia to North Macedonia. In the current dispute, Bulgaria has disagreed with the origin of the North Macedonian language. Opposing politicians view this compromise as an endangerment to the North Macedonian national identity.

North Macedonia is a country very divided both politically and ethnically. There are large minority groups such as Bulgarians and Albanians that feel more of a connection with those neighbouring countries, which leads to bitter feelings between them and the North Macedonians. An EU membership is not magically going to fix the divide within the small nation. Statistically, only .2% of the entire population is evangelical Christian and 15% is totally unevangelised. Please pray for missionaries who will go to these groups of people with the only thing that can unite them –Jesus Christ.