Will Bugaia's New Government Raise Skopje's European Chances?

"Skopje can get an answer from Sofia in December if Bulgaria has a government with a clear mandate, but the chance of that is very small," Vessela Tcherneva, deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank specialised in EU foreign affairs, told EURACTIV.

According to Tcherneva, Skopje's authorities must wait for the results of the presidential elections in Bulgaria, scheduled for 14 November, because the president's position will be very important.

The current president, Rumen Radev, has all the chances to win a second mandate. He has been an important figure in Sofia since April because his caretaker government has ruled the country in the absence of a regular cabinet, following two inconclusive elections.

"If Radev does not participate constructively on this topic, the problem will be very difficult to solve," Tcherneva added.

'Tied hands'

Bulgarian MEP Radan Kanev (Democratic Bulgaria, EPP) rejects the possibility of a caretaker government appointed by the president to give the final answer to Skopje.

"The crisis in relations with the Republic of North Macedonia requires not only a regular government but also a stable parliament in Bulgaria, with a clear majority and decent relations between the parties in it," Kanev told EURACTIV.

He explained that the Bulgarian parliament has a restrictive framework position for North Macedonia, which "ties the hands of any government, especially a caretaker one."

"The only way out is very delicate diplomatic negotiations and an agreement that will both protect the Bulgarian national interest in the process of Skopje's integration and prevent the risk of the Western Balkans falling prey to Belgrade's schemes, which are openly hostile to us (in...

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