Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev spoke on the phone with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov today to discuss the growing dispute over Goce Delcev and other historic heroes and national identity issues. Zaev’s office issued a press release saying that he and Borisov are planning a meeting in Bulgaria soon to discuss the dispute in more detail.

Prime Minister Borisov pointed out that Bulgaria remains determined in its support for the European future of Macedonia, and together with Prime Minister Zaev they expressed assurance that both sides remain engaged in implementing the Friendship Treaty, Zaev’s office said.

The 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty declares that Macedonia and Bulgaria will work to create a shared historic narrative, and that the treaty is key to Macedonia’s EU integration. As Bulgaria holds the veto power in EU, it recently announced that it will not allow the opening of accession talks for Macedonia until the Macedonian Government implements the treaty in full – in effect, until it accepts many elements of the Bulgarian historical narrative. Bulgaria also sent a strongly worded memorandum to the European Council, in which the Macedonian nation is declared as a recent creation, separating itself out of the Bulgarian nation, and that the Macedonian language is actually a Bulgarian dialect.