Prime Minister Zoran Zaev dismissed claims from Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva that politics in Macedonia is based on spreading hatred toward Bulgaria and that is what elections are won on. Zaev insisted that his SDSM party does not spread hatred toward Bulgaria.

I expect our neighbors to be friends and to give a helping hand. We are the builders of friendship in the region and we have no bad thoughts or intentions toward any of our neighbors, and that goes for friendly Bulgaria, Zaev said.

Relations between the two countries took a nose-dive after Zaev signed the friendship treaty with Prime Minister Borisov in 2017, accepting that Bulgaria will have a hand in determining the historic narrative in Macedonia. Zaev subsequent refusal to accept Bulgarian demands based on the treaty he signed led to the Bulgarian veto of Macedonia’s EU accession talks and an eruption of hostility in social media, reinforced by the media outlets.