Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, experienced German reporter from the Balkans Michael Martens writes that, if Macedonia accepts Bulgarian demands to rewrite its historic narrative, it will falsify history.

In his article, Martens focuses on the Bulgarian demand that Macedonia plays down the fact that Bulgaria sided with the Axis for most of the Second World War, and that it deported nearly all Jews from the Republic of Macedonia, the area of Drama, Seres and Kavala, as well as Pirot in Serbia. The number of Jews deported only from Macedonia is estimated at over 7,200, and nearly all of them were killed in the German death camps. “And still, Sofia today claims that the monuments and memorial plaques that remind of the ‘Bulgarian fascist occupation’ during he war amount to ‘hate speech'”, Martens writes. Bulgaria prides itself on protecting the Jewish population in Bulgaria proper from German demands that they are extradited, but it accepted the demand to deport the Jews from its newly occupied territories.

He names President Radev and his predecessor Plevneliev as hardline politicians who laid out the current Bulgarian position, while the young likely new Prime Minister Kiril Petkov is far more pragmatic, but still needs to placate more nationalist coalition partners.
With this in mind, Martens warns that Bulgaria could continue to block Macedonia from opening its EU accession talks for years, as it demands that Macedonia subscribes to its view that the Macedonian language is merely a dialect of the Bulgarian language and that the Macedonian nation is also derived from the Bulgarian nation. He notes how Greece blocked Macedonia from opening its EU accession process and joining NATO for a quarter of a century, and warns that the dispute with Bulgaria could last just as long.