Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov did not provide answers during his visit to Macedonia about whether the country will lift its veto against Macedonia. Petkov stuck to bland and broad answers while peppered by the local press, which demanded some answers.

Petkov did not even name the country he is visiting, its people or its language, such was his level of restraint. Bulgaria is treading a fine line, as it says it is ready to accept that the Macedonian nation and language exist now, but wants Macedonian children to be taught that they were part of the Bulgarian language and nation until the very recent past.

The one bit of progress announced by Petkov was that Bulgaria agrees to use the imposed name “North Macedonia” in its short form. The name, imposed on Macedonia by Greece under the 2018 Prespa Treaty, suddenly became an issue with Bulgaria, which fears that it might constitute claims to its region of Pirin Macedonia. It demands that Macedonia is referred to only in the full version “Republic of North Macedonia” but it’s likely that this, by far smallest of the outstanding issues, would not be raised in the future.

Bulgaria has been blocking Macedonia’s EU accession talks since 2020. After assuming office, Petkov initially said that he may lift the veto in six months, if there is progress in other areas, apart from history, but then promptly withdrew the offer.