In an interview with Euractiv, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that he reached agreement with Dimitar Kovacevski for a joint statement to the EU. This statement would bind Macedonia to amend its Constitution before it joins the EU, and to add the Bulgarian minority in the Preamble.
Kovacevski has already committed to this change, but he doesn’t have the votes in Parliament. The opposition VMRO-DPMNE party says it is also prepared to change the Constitution, but on the basis of reciprocity – Bulgaria would need to add the Macedonian minority to its own Constitution – which is a clear non-starter for Sofia.
Petkov said that the joint statement would be deposited with the European Commission. With this, any future Macedonian Government would be obligated to amend the Constitution to Bulgaria’s liking, without reciprocity, and failure to do so would block Macedonia from joining the EU.
Kovacevski still has not addressed this apparent agreement, but from what Petkov said, it is clear that an arrangement was made. The agreement seems to have been made earlier, during their meetings in Skopje and Sofia, and was finalized at the Munich Security Conference.
One thing to watch for is whether this approach will cover only the constitutional amendments that Bulgaria wants, or if it will be extended to other issues that this country has raised, such as redefining Macedonia’s national history and identity along the Bulgarian narrative.