The Bulgarian Parliament ratified Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol with 139 votes in favor, in the 240 seat Parliament. The large bloc of the Bulgarian Socialist Party was absent from the Parliament during the vote.

Buglarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that this is a historic day for the NATO alliance, and that Bulgaria was a constant supporter of Macedonia’s entry into NATO. Macedonian Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi attended the session of the Bulgarian Parliament, and most speakers referred to Macedonia as “North Macedonia”.

Throughout the debate, nationalist Bulgarian politicians declared that Macedonians are historically part of the Bulgarian nation and that the next European Union accession process will have to reflect that fact in Macedonian history books, and that Macedonia will have to guarantee the right of Bulgarian citizens to freely express their identity.

Some of the member of Parliament condemned the decision of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to walk out of Parliament. Ruling GERP party member Konstantin Popov said that the BSP betrayed Bulgarian national interests by refusing to vote for the NATO accession of Macedonia, while Cvetan Cvetanov from the same party called it a deeply warning move on the part of the BSP.