Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic criticized the way Bulgaria treats Macedonia, as it claims the Macedonian national identity, and blocks Macedonia from opening its EU accession talks. Vucic contrasted this with what he said is Serbia’s hands-off treatment of Macedonia.

We ask nothing from the Macedonian citizens and the Macedonian people, other than friendship and brotherhood. We don’t want your territory, we don’t claim your language. It’s not ours, it’s yours. We just want to have the closest and best possible relations, Vucic said.

Serbia and Bulgaria fought a number of wars over Macedonia and still maintain a rivalry over who will exert greater influence over the country. Some in Bulgaria have warned that their blockade of Macedonia’s EU accession talks is pushing the country toward the Mini Schengen initiative, which is dominated by Serbia and Albania.