Comment 04 Aug 17

Will the Bulgarian-Macedonian Treaty Work?

The good-neighbourliness treaty recently signed by Bulgaria and Macedonia is a fine idea, but domestic political wrangles and differing interpretations of history in the two countries could easily undermine it.

Dimitar Bechev
Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev [left] and Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov [right] in Sofial, Bulgaria. Archive photo: MIA

There is no dispute as to who Bulgarians consider the most important person to come out of Strumica. It is the late Vangelia Gushterova, known far and wide as Baba Vanga.

But now Zoran Zaev, the former mayor of the Macedonian border town, probably comes second after the celebrity clairvoyant.

It might take him a while to make it to as many front pages as Vanga, but after signing a good-neighbourliness treaty with Bulgaria on August 1, Macedonia’s current prime minister is winning plaudits in Sofia.  

More importantly, Zaev and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borissov, are being praised by EU dignitaries like the Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister.

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