Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he expects any solution to historic disputes with Bulgaria to focus on the fact that Bulgaria recognizes the Macedonian language and the Macedonian people. As Bulgaria wants concessions on historic figures such as Goce Delcev, who their side considers a Bulgarian, Zaev pointed to the fact that some compromise formulas were already found for five other figures, and added that if there is no deal, that would mean Bulgaria wanted something Macedonia was not prepared to give.

We hear statements from Borisov and other officials that they recognize the reality of the existence of a Macedonian people and a Macedonian language. They want a debate on history, on the shared portion of history and on the separate portions. In the spirit of friendship, I believe we will find solutions. I believe it (the opening of accession talks with the EU) will happen in December, but if it doesn’t it would mean that our side was asked to do something which we can’t even discuss, let alone accept, Zaev said.

Bulgaria wants Goce Delcev and other historic figures from the period of national liberation to be declared ethnic Bulgarians. According to leaks from the talks, the Bulgarian proposal was that Delcev is declared an ethnic Bulgarian who was “regionally a Macedonian”. Bulgaria has threatened to block the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia unless it is satisfied with the outcome of these talks, and there is also speculation that it demanded a new, more binding treaty, which would include a mandate for constitutional amendments in Macedonia.

We already have a treaty. That is the treaty of friendship and good neighborly relations with Bulgaria. Through this treaty all historic chapters that should be part of our shared honoring will be resolved. The treaty is signed in Macedonian and Bulgarian and it talks about two nations. our Macedonian language and Macedonian people are listed by the UN and are recognized by the entire world. I welcome the work of the Commission of historians, their innovative approach and mutual understanding and I believe they will find solutions to all other issues such as the one over Goce Delcev. In a year they reached solutions on five historic figures from three periods and that proves we continue to resolve the issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation, Zaev said.

Zaev also declined the request from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party that a meeting of party leaders is held to discuss the Bulgarian requests on Goce Delcev and their threat of veto. Opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski said that if Zaev accepts a wording that will declare Delcev to have been a Bulgarian, VMRO will revoke it once it is in office.