Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva confirmed that, as things stand right now, Bulgaria will block the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia.

At this time Bulgaria is not in a position to approve the negotiating framework in this form. We still have time, but it’s very short, Zaharieva said.

Macedonia is hoping to open accession talks by the end of the year and to have the negotiating framework approved until November 10. Zaharieva said that the teams from the two foreign ministries are in constant online communication and are trying to resolve the outstanding issues.

Bulgaria wants Macedonia to make concessions on historic issues and issues of national identity, such as declaring a number of its historic figures as – ethnic Bulgarians. “We do not deny the right to self-determination of any citizens, including the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, and to call their language what they like. We acknowledge the reality but they need to acknowledge the past”, Zaharieva said, insisting that Macedonia accepts a Bulgarian reading of its history as a condition of opening accession talks.