Zoran Zaev took his new “patriotic” campaign to Instagram. After his visit to Brussels, where he untypically began to push a message that he is done making concessions to neighboring countries, he now insists that “The Macedonian identity is a fact and a matter of pride” in his new Instagram message.

In a move clearly aimed at Bulgaria, which is blocking Macedonia from opening EU accession talks, Zaev added that the “identity of our Macedonian people will not be made a matter of negotiations. European values are our guiding light, but protecting our identity is also a European value”.

It’s a complete attitude change for the politician who was helped to power by foreign circles eager to get Macedonia to give up on its name so that it could be entered into NATO. For years Zaev insisted that accepting compromises – inevitably to the detriment of Macedonian interests – is the mark of wisdom and a good neighborly policy. But now that Bulgaria responded to his concessions toward Greece by making similar demands, and blocked Macedonia from opening EU accession talks unless Zaev concedes, he is making a U-turn, which coincides with the coming municipal elections.

As EU official began to announce the possibility that Albania will be allowed to decouple from Macedonia and open accession talks while Zaev’s regime remains stuck, he flew to Brussels for urgent meetings with the top officials there. But the outcome was that Zaev was reminded that all EU member states must agree beforee the opening of accession talks with a candidate country.