“Unfortunately, the Republic of North Macedonia still does not meet the criteria for holding the first intergovernmental conference,” said Bulgarian Ambassador to the EU Rumen Alexandrov. According to him, Albania must be judged on its own merits and is ready to make progress on the road to the EU. Regarding North Macedonia, Alexandrov noted that in recent months the Bulgarian side has proposed a number of options for overcoming open issues related to guaranteeing the rights of citizens with Bulgarian identity and implementation of the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation. The Bulgarian veto remains, although, according to the quoted diplomatic source, Bulgaria’s planned sharp stance, which was to be expressed before the Council, was not expressed due to the Struma highway tragedy. Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs Gasper Dovzan, as reported by correspondents from Brussels, said that chief focus on the meeting was on the Bulgarian-North Macedonian dispute. “I am glad that there is general support for the whole process, but there are still bilateral issues, especially raised by Bulgaria. However, I hope that by the end of our EU presidency we will be able to solve the problems, this process must be positive,” Dovzan said.