Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov
Borisov said his country objected to the idea of neighbouring Macedonia being renamed with a geographical qualifier, such as “Northern”, as it might then encourage Macedonian territorial claims against Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister told TV+ channel that different versions of Macedonia’s potential future name have been discussed in Bulgaria, including “Northern Macedonia.”
“I said that we would not accept this, since the next day they would say Blagoevgrad [in Bulgaria] is Macedonian,” Borisov said, referring to the town in southwestern Bulgaria close to the Macedonian border.
Borisov’s remarks come at a time when such possible solutions appear only hypothetical, as UN-led talks between Macedonia and Greece have been stalled for over a year.
Since 2008 Greece has blocked Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, insisting that use of the name “Macedonia” implies territorial claims to its own northern province of the same name.
UN-led talks between the two sides have so proved unsuccessful. Media have speculated in the past that a name like “Northern Macedonia”, which would distinguish the country from the Greek province, could work as a compromise.
The historic region of Macedonia covers an area in the Balkans that is much larger than the present Republic of Macedonia.
Afteer the Balkan wars of 1912-1913, and the signing of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, the former Ottoman territory was split between Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.
The modern Republic of Macedonia includes only the area that fell to Serbia and which later became an autonomous republic within Yugoslavia.