Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov said that he is very disappointed in the fact that Bulgaria blocked the opening of EU accession talks, but that he will continue to work in a way not to give any more reason to Bulgaria for additional vetoes. Bulgaria is using examples of angry comments aimed at its officials as proof of a “climate of hate” in Macedonia and Dimitrov was recently called out by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Krasimir Karakacanov, as a duplicitous person who says one thing in Sofia and another in Brussels.

If out accession process is reduced to bilateral issues and history becomes more important than the fight against corruption, independence of the judiciary and functioning of democratic institutions and media freedom, than it is not a process that will make us more European but more Balkan. We need a reformist network of friends who will help us set clear goals and work on them, Dimitrov said. Bulgaria accuses him particularly of trying to gain lobbyists in Brussels and Berlin to pressure Sofia.

In an interview in Austria, Dimitrov underlined that Macedonia will not negotiate on its language, which he said is part of a historic process and of human dignity. He pointed to the Lisbon treaty, which guarantees protection of linguistic differences, while at the same time, the Macedonian language is evoked as an issue. Dimitrov said that Bulgarian historians who are in talks with Macedonian colleagues even began rejecting the use of the adjective Macedonian and the Macedonian national identity.