Greek daily Kathimerini believes that Zoran Zaev does not actually fear that Bulgaria will actually block Macedonia from opening the EU accession talks. The paper reports on the growing dispute, and how Bulgaria is now taking up the role Greece played in blocking Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, but believes that the EU and the US will push for calm and stability in the Balkans.

Zaev is making efforts to find a compromise solution on the historical differences so as not to upset relations between the two sister countries, but deep down he has no reason to be concerned about a possible Bulgarian block on his country’s path to EU accession. However, for the Europeans and the Americans, the deal between Bulgaria and North Macedonia and the Prespa accord are two key pillars on which calm and stability in the Balkans can be upheld, Kathimerini reports.

The Greek paper notes that Bulgaria was first to recognize Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia, but that it maintains that “the language, which they never recognized as ‘Macedonian’.. is a dialect of Bulgarian” and that “the identity of the ‘Slav citizens’ of (North) Macedonian is in fact Bulgarian”.