Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov is on the verge of losing his own post in an attempt to keep Dimitar Kovacevski in his. Petkov, whose coalition is deeply divided over the veto against Macedonia, is now openly saying that Bulgaria must allow Macedonia to open accession talks. If it fails to do so, Petkov warns, it would mean that Kovacevski’s Government will fall and would be replaced with VMRO-DPMNE.

The stupidest thing we could do now, that would be against Bulgarian national interests, would be to trip up. To demand they deliver something that can’t happen before we lift the veto. Then the nationalists will take over power and our chances are zero. Now we have a normal Government there and they are ready to take on the obligations under a European agreement, Petkov said.

The demand he is referring to is the Bulgarian insistence that Macedonia must amend its Constitution and add the Bulgarian nation in its preamble before the accession talks begin. The Kovacevski coalition does not have the votes to amend the Constitution, and VMRO has said it will only do so if Bulgaria pledges that this is the last such demand they will make.

Petkov has the Bulgarian Socialist Party in his coalition, as well as the ITN populist party – both are far more hard-line on the issue of Macedonia than he is. He is also pressed by President Rumen Radev, also from the Socialist Party, who is a leading hard-line voice on the issue.