European Western Balkans

Zaev: Bulgaria unlikely to block North Macedonia from opening EU accession negotiations

Zoran Zaev; Photo: Government of Macedonia

SKOPJE – Prime Minister of North Macecdonia Zoran Zaev said that he finds the Bulgarian position that North Macedonia should honor historic figures like Goce Delčev jointly with Bulgaria to be justified, adding that he does not expect that Bulgaria will block North Macedonia from opening EU accession negotiations, Mia.mk reported.

“I will say it once again – the identity issues, the Macedonian language, the Macedonian people, are part of the right to self-determination. Bulgaria is a European country and I believe that our talks are because of their ambition and justified desire to jointly honor Goce Delčev”, said Zaev.

He stressed that he doesn’t expect to have any obstacles in that part because definitely from the start-up to today Bulgaria was one of the greatest, if not the greatest supporter of the Republic of North Macedonia in EU integrations.

“The Bulgarian people want to help the Macedonian people and the Macedonian people want to be friendly positioned toward the Bulgarian people”, Zaev said.

Bulgaria has threatened to block the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia unless Macedonian historians in the joint committee set up under the 2017 Zaev–Borisov treaty agree that historical figures like Goce Delcev were Bulgarians. Bulgaria has followed up on this with a stern memorandum sent to the European Union listing numerous other demands that are likely to come in the future. Zaev expects to meet with Borisov this month to discuss the issue.

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