Bulgarian and North Macedonian Prime Ministers Kiril Petkov and Dimitar Kovacevski told a press conference after their meeting in Skopje on Tuesday that as a sign of initial goodwill, Bulgaria will no longer make an issue of the use of the name North Macedonia in international organisations, dropping its previous claims that the name implicates territorial claims against Bulgaria.
Over 70% of Bulgarians consider settling Skopje's relations with Sofia a priority, rather than Skopje's path to the European Union. Fluctuations in this regard have subsided within a year and the structure of opinions shows an almost automatic picture. The youngest and different minority groups are a little more distant from the topic.
This overarching national issue has so far overshadowed the mayoral contest in Skopje, where there has been no direct TV duel between the two candidates ahead of the runoffs.
Arsovska is cross about the recent negative campaigning against her, which this week included an accusation by the Social Democrats that she has double, Bulgarian, citizenship.
Since early September Ilina Dimitrijevska has been walking endless kilometres every day, going door to door asking people to take part in North Macedonia's first census in nearly two decades.
Her task may be straightforward enough, but the census remains highly sensitive due to the potential impact on the nation's minorities.
Bulgaria expects effective actions from EU institutions to promote the values of democracy and respect for human rights in the Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said during his meeting on Tuesday with EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. The meeting was not followed by a media briefing and Várhelyi left for Skopje later the same day.