After a flurry of phone calls between Berlin – Sofia and Skopje, Bulgarian Preisdent Rumen Radev is the latest to get involved in the dispute and to have a phone call with German President Frank Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeier already spoke with Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski, who said that he comes out encouraged from the call.
But Radev, who is leading protests against the Borisov Government and hopes to see his Socialist Party win the elections in spring, told Steinmeier that Bulgaria “can’t allow unresolved disputes to be admitted to the EU and damage its unity”.
For this, it will require a durable and sustainable progress in the Republic of (North) Macedonia in the building of good neighborly relations with Bulgaria, Radev said, announcing that he will stand firm in the threat of veto of the opening of EU accession talks unless Macedonia backs down on numerous historic issues and on its national identity.
Radev said that Bulgaria wants legally binding guarantees imposed by international factors that the unity of the Bulgarian nation and its cultural and historic heritage won’t be undermined. He asked that the Bulgarian positions on the Macedonian nation and language, outlined in a stern memorandum sent to the European Council, are made part of the accession process. If not, Bulgaria will ask Macedonia to sign an additional bilateral treaty, on top of the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty, something that the VMRO-DPMNE party in Macedonia warned about.