The German NGO group Just Access issued a report condemning Bulgaria for its veto against Macedonia’s EU accession prospects. According to the organization, Macedonia should be able to initiate an dispute before international courts.

Bulgaria’s strategy of intimidation and improper pressure takes full advantage of a structural inequality in its relationship with (North) Macedonia. (North) Macedonia could or should contemplate raising aspects of this “dispute” before an international court or body, especially because it has a treaty of amity in force with Bulgaria, which is blatantly violated by the latter’s offensive attitude against its neighbour. Yet, such a move is seemingly politically delicate at the moment, since this will most probably accentuate fears that the EU accession process in the case of (North) Macedonia would get stalled even longer. This is a clear manifestation of the successful blackmailing campaign that Bulgaria is running against its Macedonian neighbour, by taking full advantage of its relative privileged position as an EU member State to crudely exert pressure in view of purportedly internal political gains, the report states.

Macedonia successfully took Greece to court, before the International Court of Justice, over its 2008 veto of Macedonia’s NATO accession. But Greece did not alter its behavior and continued to block Macedonia, until an international pressure campaign and regime change brought Zaev to power who then imposed a name change. Now that Bulgaria also wants concessions from Zaev, he is resisting, but is facing a similar veto – this time in the EU.

The report from the organization warns that if the Bulgarian veto persists, it would send a negative signal for all Balkan countries that hope to join the EU and would destabilize the region.