Prime Minister Zoran Zaev pleaded ignorance of the latest Politico report, according to which he has agreed to accept the Bulgarian positions on the key Macedonian national identity positions, in order to open the EU accession talks. Zaev evoked the Prespa treaty he signed with Greece, insisting that it recognized the existence of the Macedonian nation and language, as precedent that Bulgaria can’t now re-open these issues.

Greece recognized out right to self-determination. There will be no negotiations over our identity and our Macedonian language, and nobody is asking for such. Bulgaria is a friendly country and Bulgaria publicly states that it recognizes the Macedonian language and the Macedonian people. It recognizes the reality. I believe that our working groups who are holding talks will find solutions and I expect from the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian leadership to make specific steps on the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian language. I emphasize again, there will be no new treaty or a new annex to the treaty. We are ready to clarify or specify some issues, Zaev said.

In its update on developments from Brussels, Politico reported that there is a “MACEDONIAN COMPROMISE” on the table, although the wording of whether it has been accepted is neither here nor there: “MACEDONIAN COMPROMISE: During Wednesday’s meeting of EU ambassadors, the laborious issue of historical truth — or truths — in the Western Balkans came up again … this time in the form of a Bulgarian compromise that would allow the launch of formal talks with (North) Macedonia, a senior diplomat told our own Jacopo Barigazzi. What’s in the deal: Bulgaria would recognize Macedonian as one of the official languages of the country and acknowledge a Macedonian identity. In return, (North) Macedonia would need to acknowledge the “historical truth,” as defined by Sofia, and admit there are Bulgarian foundations upon which any Macedonian identity, and the official language, have been created”, Politico reported.

Under this deal, Macedonia would get the right to nominally use the terms “Macedonian” but they would be devoid of much of their essence, as Bulgaria wants Macedonia to accept that the Macedonian nation and language are recent derivatives from the Bulgarian nation and language.