Bulgarian PM Petkov Holds Meeting in Skopje with PM Kovacevski

Bulgarian PM Kiril Petkov arrived in Skopje on Tuesday morning, and held the long-awaited meeting with PM Dimitar Kovacevski, at which they discussed the current affairs concerning the bilateral issues between the two countries, possible resolutions for the same and possibilities for unblocking the processes for EU accession of North Macedonia. At their mutual press conference, Petkov and Kovacevski announced that they have agreed that Bulgaria will no longer refrain from naming the country just as “North Macedonia”. Both Kovacevski and Petkov demonstrated a great dose of optimism in their speeches. “North Macedonia and Bulgaria are two close, friendly neighbours, which is why we as two PMs today agreed to introduce an intense dynamism in the processes for resolution of open bilateral disputes. The very start was the agreement for use of the shorter version of the name of the Republic of North Macedonia, for which we have already notified the United Nations. We hope that this same optimism prevails at the inter-governmental conference between Skopje and Sofia on 25 January and that we manage to resolve many other issues,” Kovacevski said. Petkov on the other hand, when called to name the language and the people of the country he is visiting, only said that the identity and the language are issues already resolved with the Good-neighbourliness Agreement from 2017. “The Agreement contains very clear definitions when it comes to the language. We respect the right to self-determination of the citizens of North Macedonia, and all the languages of the ethnic groups included in your Constitution,” Petkov said, while Kovacevski added that North Macedonia is already a state recognised by the UN and Bulgaria, with Macedonian language. Petkov then went on to explain that in the upcoming period Skopje and Sofia will focus more on building new connections between the people in both countries, and voiced hope that the agreements reached by the Mixed Commission on Historical Affairs will serve as starting point for good future, instead of return to conflicts.