Bulgarian authorities would not budge after the visit of EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, who tried to intervene on Macedonian behalf. Varhelyi met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Svetlan Stoev. Radev responded that Bulgaria “does not trust empty promises” from Macedonia and demands “full implementation of the friendship treaty, to make it legally binding”, and if this is not delivered, will continue to block Macedonia’s EU accession talks.

The 2017 Friendship Treaty is not being implemented. Our neighbor still hasn’t resolved the problems with hate speech and the construction of a false perception of Bulgaria in its textbooks, museums and monuments, as well as the hostility toward its citizens who openly declare their Bulgarian identity, Radev said following the meeting.