The Sofia-Skopje rivalry and NATO

Bulgaria's insistence on blocking European Union accession talks with North Macedonia risks creating another fissure in NATO's southeastern flank. Two of its member-states - Greece and Turkey - are already deeply divided and now two more appear headed for a collision, over a two-century-old controversy on ethnic grounds.

Both Bulgaria and North Macedonia are key regional members of the Alliance. Bulgaria for its role as supervisor over the Black Sea and southern Russia, and North Macedonia as a buffer against further Russian expansion in the heart of the Balkans. Both also feel the impact of the American-Russian conflict of influence very strongly.

NATO, however, appears unruffled by the Sofia-Skopje rivalry, regarding it as a European matter that needs to be settled by the EU's member-states. While this may strictly be the case, Bulgaria's objections to North...

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