Bulgarian lawmakers are set to take a major step on Friday towards lifting Sofia’s effective veto over North Macedonia starting accession talks with the EU.
MEPs will vote in plenary session on whether they should put their full weight behind a proposal from the French Council Presidency to break the deadlock between Sofia and Skopje.
Bulgaria has held back North Macedonia’s European aspirations in a long-running dispute over the language, history and rights of the Bulgarian minority in North Macedonia.
The failure to resolve the cross-border dispute sparked fury from Balkan leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday, who railed against Sofia for holding back their European prospects.
Curiously, North Macedonia itself does not support this so-called “French proposal” at the heart of Friday’s vote in Sofia, but it would be a very significant political reversal if the Bulgarian parliament could abandon its blocking position.
“The French presidency’s proposal creates more favorable conditions for the defense of Bulgarian national interests in the accession negotiations than all the options proposed so far,” said outgoing Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, quoted by the Mediapool information service.