The hardening of Sofia’s position vis-à-vis North Macedonia and the attempt to condition Skopje’s accession process upon the previous satisfaction of a number of key Bulgarian preconditions undoubtedly constitutes a critical moment in bilateral, Bulgarian-North Macedonian relations. No Bulgarian government in the future may easily ignore or abandon these strict conditions.
Sofia has “bound itself” into a tough diplomatic position, reminiscent of Greek policy vis-à-vis North Macedonia, where dominant perceptions of history-identity and a feeling of diplomatic superiority dictated a strict diplomatic position that no Greek government dared to openly question, let alone abandon.
Some of the key Bulgarian demands on history, however, touch upon fundamental aspects of the North Macedonian national narrative and nation-building and it will be hard for any government in Skopje to accept. It will certainly take a lot of good will and creative thinking by both sides in order to move forward.
You may find the Policy Brief here.