Will Bulgaria block North Macedonia's EU accession?

Bulgaria's government is reserving the right to block the Republic of North Macedonia's accession to the EU at a later date. The bone of contention is a conflict between Sofia and Skopje about the interpretation of historical events and figures. Roughly two weeks before the EU is set to decide on initiating accession talks, Bulgarian media disagree on whether the row is justified.

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Duma (BG) /

Stop the theft of history

The North Macedonians always want to adorn themselves with others' feathers - if not with those of the Greeks then with those of the Bulgarians, Duma rails:

“The Greeks did things right and spoiled Skopje's appetite for stealing their history. The agreement that [Bulgarian Prime Minister] Borisov worked out with Skopje, however, lacks concrete obligations the Macedonians must fulfil for us to give them our support for EU and Nato accession. The Macedonian participants in the joint historians' commission are trying by hook or by crook to claim Bulgarian history for themselves - from [Byzantine theologians] Cyril and Methodius to [Czar] Samuel to [freedom fighter] Gotse Delchev and [writer] Vaptsarov. 'They're trying to make fools of us', said [Deputy Prime Minister] Karakachanov, and he's right.”

Deutsche Welle (BG) /

No reason to take offence

The dispute between Sofia and Skopje is absurd, writes anthropologist Ivalyo Dichev in a commentary for the Bulgarian service of Deutsche Welle:

“Supposedly it's written in some [Northern Macedonian] textbooks that the Proto-Bulgarians were a nomadic people who descended from Turkic peoples and Mongols. ... My claim is that there's nothing offensive in descending from nomads, and even less so from Turkic peoples or Mongols. On the contrary, the real insult is to take that as an insult. ... The Greeks wanted something very concrete: a change in the state's name because it was the same as the name of its province Macedonia. But what exactly do we want? That each time the discussion turns to the Proto-Bulgarians the Republic of North Macedonia undertakes to state clearly that they were a sedentary people without a speck of Turkic DNA?”