Former Macedonian Ambassador to Bulgaria Marjan Gjorcev believes that the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty is skewed in favor of Bulgaria and that this is the reason it has been unsuccessful so far.

There is a negative element in the treaty and that is the lack of concern for the ethnic dimension for the Bulgarian citizens who declare to be Macedonians. On the other hand, it allows Bulgaria to claim a Bulgarian minority in Macedonia as well as in Albania and Kosovo. This puts us on an uneven footing, Gjorcev said.

Bulgaria bans Macedonia from opening the Macedonian minority issue in the region of Pirin Macedonia. On the other hand, the treaty provides that the countries can protect their citizens who reside in the other country – this issue opens the door for Bulgaria to demand concessions from Macedonia, as tens of thousands of Macedonians have claimed dual Bulgarian citizenship, mainly so that they can access the EU labour market and some of them elevate their personal issues in Macedonia to the level of a bilateral issue. On the other hand, the number of Bulgarian residents who hold Macedonian citizenship is relatively low.

Gjorcev said that, even though he was Macedonian Ambassador to Bulgaria when the treaty was signed by Zaev and Borisov, he was never involved in the talks. As an official of the VMRO-DPMNE party he was shunned by Zaev and his Foreign Ministe Nikola Dimitrov.