Historian Dragi Gjorgiev, who leads the Macedonian team in the joint commission with Bulgaria, stated that there was no progress at the latest meeting. The commission was formed as part of the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty and it is tasked with looking for shared historic narratives between the two countries – its failure means that Bulgaria will likely continue to block Macedonia from opening EU accession talks.

In the past three meetings I’ve seen no desire for progress among our Bulgarian colleagues. That is due to the political situation in Bulgaria, Gjorgiev said, hinting at the inconclusive outcome of the general elections there.

He said that during the last meeting, the commission didn’t even discuss the most difficult issue – the nationality of legendary VMRO hero Goce Delcev, and this was done on Bulgarian demand.

There is currently no political Government in Bulgaria and its absence in noticeable among our Bulgarian colleagues and their lack of will to achieve more in our work. Either way, in principle I don’t think that Bulgaria will change its position on the historic legacy of Macedonia. There is a high degree of consensus and unanimity in the mainstream Bulgarian politicians. But I believe what can change is the treatment of this commission and of the problem in Macedonian – Bulgarian relations. If the commission is removed from the list of bilateral problems, we could achieve resolution on some of the issues more quickly, Gjorgiev said.

He also welcomed the proposal to introduce third party experts into the commission, but said that previous such proposals were rejected by Bulgaria.