North Macedonia’s EU accession sparks political turmoil in Bulgaria


Ruling coalition loses majority as party exits over Premier Petkov’s alleged plan to back North Macedonia’s EU accession.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov is facing an increasingly uncertain future as his alleged plan to back North Macedonia’s EU accession has garnered strong backlash.

Slavi Trifonov, leader of the There’s Such a People (ITN) party, announced that the party was withdrawing from the ruling coalition, while three ministers would be resigning from the Cabinet.

He cited Petkov’s policies as the main reason for the party’s decision to quit the government.

“We don’t have any place in this coalition for two reasons: North Macedonia and the fact there’s no money left in this country,” Trifonov said on social media.

“The prime minister is leading a political line of his own, different from the one in the coalition agreement,” he added.

However, Petkov, co-leader of the We Continue the Change (PP) party, has pledged to lead a minority government.

The ruling four-party coalition has 134 seats in the 240-seat National Assembly and loses its majority without ITN’s 25 lawmakers.

In late 2020, Bulgaria refused to approve the European Union’s negotiation framework for North Macedonia, saying it could not support the start of the bloc’s long-delayed accession negotiations with Skopje because of disputes regarding history and language.

Sofia revived old grievances, calling on its neighbor to acknowledge ethnic Macedonians’ historical and linguistic ties to Bulgaria, and threatened to veto the start of accession talks unless it does so, creating a likely stalemate.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



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