The EU – Portuguese mission to Sofia seems to be a failure. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Svetlan Stoev told the visiting EU Commissioner Varhelyi and the Portuguese Minister Silva that Bulgaria’s caretaker Government will have a policy of full continuity with the previously set national policy toward Macedonia. This means that the demands for concessions from Macedonia which led to the Bulgarian veto of Macedonia’s EU accession talks will likely remain in place

Sofia is ready for an open and sincere dialogue with Skopje. The technical Government will have a policy of full continuity and you can’t expect it to change the Bulgarian national positions toward Macedonia. Full implementation of the 2017 Friendship Treaty and receiving guarantees are the two main criteria that Sofia will stand by, Stoev said after his meetings with Varhelyi and Silva.

The two visiting officials are also meeting with President Radev, who has more authority than the technical Government but has not indicated any willingness to make concessions, with caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev (pictured), as well as with former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and other Bulgarian officials.

Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Council, is pushing a still unpublished proposal that would by-pass the Bulgarian veto and would ensure that Macedonia does not fall behind Albania in its EU accessions. Varhelyi and Silva are coming to Skopje after their trip to Sofia, in what was announced as a big EU push to overcome the impasse.