Yorgos Christidis spoke about the political crisis in Bulgaria that has followed the departure of the populist There Is Such a People” party from Kiril Petkov’s coalition government in an interview with Athina 9,84 FM. He also discussed the significance of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Thessaloniki.

Christidis was certain Bulgaria is heading for early elections after the leader of one of the parties in the four-way coalition announced it was leaving the cabinet. He also said that the minority government now in power in Sofia will not lift its veto on North Macedonia beginning EU accession talks.

In addition, due to the lack of progress ahead of the upcoming EU Summit in June, he argued that “The credibility of the European Union in the Western Balkans will continue to be seriously tested”, adding that this was to the detriment not only of the Union, but also of the region’s pro-European, pro-reformist political leaderships.

As for the role Athens could play in the region, he believes that Greece could help to break the deadlock between North Macedonia and Bulgaria. He also noted that a big question mark still hangs over Athens recognizing Kosovo. Commenting on Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ proposed timeline whereby the entire Western Balkans would be integrated into the EU by 2033, Christidis said such proposals “provoke scepticism in these countries, given the number of times dates such as these have been proposed in the past, and the fact that the real problem is with specific EU member states”.

Click to listen to the interview in Greek (11:08 – 20:35).