“Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev was not sparing of words when speaking about the close relations and friendship between Bulgaria and Greece, after having a dinner with Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias in Athens. Being awarded with the Order of the Redeemer Plevneliev remarked that it was not by chance that he was the first European politician to visit Greece after the general elections in the country. Neither was it just by chance that the two presidents discussed the name issue and Papoulias commented that the more Macedonia insisted on the ideology of Macedonism, the more the doors of the EU and NATO stayed closed,” writes Macedonian Dnevnik daily in an article titled ‘Bulgarian bull in a china shop’.
The text reads further, as follows: “The name row between Athens and Skopje is an issue discussed at all meetings of Bulgarian and Greek representatives. According to some Bulgarian experts, the topic is tabled for discussion since Greece was interested in this issue. While Plevneliev and Papoulias were holding a meeting, a group of Bulgarian professors analysed for the media Sofia’s policy in terms of the name issue.
“Bulgaria’s policy on the name issue could be productive, if it is restricted only within two major points. Firstly, Bulgaria recognises the country under its constitutional name (President Plevneliev missed to mention this at the NATO summit meeting in Chicago, and it was only for Turkey to express position on this issue). Secondly, the change of the name is the purpose of talks between Greece and Macedonia, themselves – Bulgaria does not interfere in this issue,” the analysis of the professors reads.
The experts described the position of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov interesting, since on the one hand the broader name Republic of Macedonia does not contain territorial claims, while a narrower one, such as North Macedonia, could be considered a threat.
The analysts warned that Borisov should consider Bulgaria’s policy towards Macedonia really well instead of making proposals for the name, which could be described as Bulgarian bull in Macedonian china shop.
Just like President Plevneliev said in Athens, the friendship between Bulgaria and Greece is of strategic importance for the peace and stability of the region, as if repeating the words of former Greek prime minister Giorgos Papandreou said in Sofia a couple of years ago.
“Over the last couple of years there was a positive leap in the relations between Greece and Bulgaria. I believe that this meeting and the good relations between our counties are a pillar of stability in the Balkans and, more broadly speaking, in Europe,” Papandreou said after meeting with Bulgarian counterpart Borisov.
In the same year former Greek foreign minister Dimitrios Droutsas arrived on a tripartite meeting with the Bulgarian and Serbian counterparts in Sofia – Nikolay Mladenov and Vuk Jeremic, and said he wanted the name issue solved so as Macedonia to join the EU and NATO and that Skopje was well-aware of what it had to do.
Martin Minkov, director of the Bulgarian Radio Burgas and correspondent to Skopje, said that one should not make a story out of this, since the name issue has always been a topic discussed by Greek and Bulgarian representatives. Minkov added that the issue was not being raised by the Bulgarian representatives.
“Bulgaria wants to see Macedonia in the EU and NATO and does not want to be part of the discussion on this argument. I am sure that all open issues will be solved within the EU talks but we do not any claims at our history,” Minkov said.”