Bulgaria is not backing down and intends to maintain its veto against Macedonia and block the opening of EU accession talks, the MIA news agency reports.

Talks are going on in Luxembourg, where EU foreign ministers are gathered to prepare the agenda for the European Council. Officials German, Sweden and other countries are on the records demanding from Bulgaria to lift the veto, but ?Bulgaria is led by a caretaker Government whose representatives say that they have no mandate to act, while also insisting that Macedonia is not implementing its obligations under the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty.

Bulgaria demands major concessions from Macedonia on issues of national identity and history before it will allow the opening of accession talks. MIA reports that Germany was particularly assertive, demanding that Bulgaria lifts the veto, but given the fact that Bulgaria does not have a political Government at the moment, the possibility for progress is slim. German representatives reportedly claimed that, if the EU is not able to complete its integration of the Balkans, it will look like a “strategic dwarf” and is “shooting itself in the foot”. Bulgarian representatives responded by demanding more understanding from their EU partners for the depth of their dispute with Macedonia.

Talks will resume throughout the day, and in the coming days as well.