Zoran Zaev did not address the latest Bulgarian veto at the European Council, which blocked Macedonia from opening its EU accession talks, but some of his officials did come out yesterday with their comments.

President Stevo Pendarovski said that Macedonia should not give up on pursuing EU membership, but that it should also turn toward its other strategic partners – mainly to work on the 2008 strategic partnership agreement with the US. This agreement was signed after Greece vetoed Macedonia’s NATO membership at the Bucharest summit.

And Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov insisted that the regime will push for a “European, dignified solution” to the dispute with Bulgaria. “We have only one path before us, to join the EU as Macedonians who speak the Macedonian language. It is impossible and illogical and contradictory that the Macedonian language is made a problem for joining a Union which nurtures cultural and linguistic diversity in the European continent. How can a EU member state put forward conditions that are contrary to the European values?”, Dimitrov said.

Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani all but dared the EU to keep blocking Macedonia, insisting that nothing will change in the regime approach. “There is no alternative, we are on a one track line. I don’t think they can block us as much as we can remain persistent in the process”, Osmani said.