After Bulgarian Defense Minister Krasimir Karakacanov threatened to block Macedonia’s EU and NATO accession over historic issues, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva confirmed that she expects more progress on the issue of Goce Delcev’s nation background.

Under the Borisov – Zaev treaty signed in 2017 Macedonia is supposed to alter its historic narrative and Bulgaria should drop its objections to Macedonia’s entry into NATO and the EU. The commission of historians set up for this purpose met last week but failed to agree what national designation to slap on VMRO leader Goce Delcev.

Zaharieva said that the Bulgarian side, which insists that Delcev is declared a Bulgarian revolutionary, rejected the Macedonian proposal to set October 7th as the date when both countries would jointly honor Delcev. That is the day when in 1946 Delcev’s mortal remains were brought to Skopje from Sofia, under his vow that he wants his body to rest in the capital of free Macedonia. Bulgaria rejects this date because it is seen in Macedonia as Bulgarian acknowledgement of Delcev’s Macedonian heritage. Bulgaria wants Macedonia to acknowledge that Delcev, and all Macedonians, are in fact Bulgarians.

There is no reason to celebrate October 7th, Zaharieva said while echoing Karakacanov comments that “our shared goal is that the historic commission gets more work done by the end of the year”.

Zaharieva met with Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov in Sofia for the first meeting of the joint Government commission. Dimitrov pleaded with the hosts not to raise ultimatums in their relations with Macedonia.

I want to appeal for wisdom. When we have closeness and friendship, we should not use ultimatums, Dimitrov said, when asked about Karakacanov’s comments.