As it pushes an aggressive campaign to declare the opposition mayoral candidate in Skopje Danela Arsovska a “Bulgarian agent”, the Zaev Government today also issued a statement admonishing Bulgaria for interfering in Macedonian affairs. The likely motive is the meeting of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev with representatives of the newly founded Bulgarian parties in Macedonia and announcements that Macedonia will remain blocked in its EU talks until it adds the Bulgarian community to its Constitution.

We understand the internal political needs in Bulgaria given the complicated internal pre-election situation in Bulgaria but we believe that there is no need to go out of the framework of European values and principles of respect upon which the Friendship Treaty is built on. Such tones are not seen as friendly by the Macedonian citizens. Non-interference in internal affairs is a matter of principle and we expect that from our neighbors, the Government said.

Big part of Zaev’s loss of support in the local elections is his openly declared readiness to accept numerous Bulgarian demands. This hurt him especially hard with the Skopje wing of his own SDSM party. Now, just days before the crucial run-off vote, Zaev did a full U-turn and is accusing the opposition of being “pro-Bulgarian” while sounding a tough line on the Bulgarian interference which he previously accepted as a matter of course.