Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva claimed as a major diplomatic win the fact that Macedonian historians acknowledged that the medieval kingdom of Tsar Samoil was a Bulgarian kingdom.

Zaharieva was referring to the results of the latest round of discussions in the Joint commission of historians set up to implement the treaty Macedonia and Bulgaria signed in 2017. Under the treaty, Bulgaria got oversight rights over Macedonian history books and even public discourse, and the two countries must determine which historic events and figures belong to their “shared history”. Given that Bulgaria continues to hold the veto threat over Macedonia’s EU accession, the talks in the commission are largely focused on the Macedonian side accepting the Bulgarian character of the medieval individuals and events and the historians agreed to put Tsar Samoil and two contemporary Christian saints – Clement and Naum of Ohrid – on the “shared” list.

I believe we are making fundamental progress. For the first time in 80 years historians from North Macedonia admitted that there was a medieval Buglarian state. But, the most important thing is what will the history books say and what will we teach our children, Zaharieva added.

Bulgaria does not recognize the existance of a Macedonian nation and langauge separate from the Bulgarian and wants the Macedonian history books to reflect this view.