Coronavirus gave diplomacy a little more time, at least in terms of Bulgaria’s demands for significant concessions from North Macedonia, to approve the negotiating framework with the EU. Germany postponed the EU Ministerial Meeting (GAC) from 10 to November 17. This decision was confirmed by the representative of the German Presidency. The final decision on the form of the negotiating framework for North Macedonia and Albania was to be taken and a date was to be set for the first intergovernmental conference.
The reason is not the latest diplomatic efforts to unravel Sofia’s knot, but the fact that German European Minister Michael Roth is in quarantine after meeting with the Bulgarian delegation Monday night in Berlin. On that day, talks took place in the German capital between the Ministers of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov and Bujar Osmani and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva. Zaharieva’s deputy turned out to be positive for Covid-19 and, according to the German Foreign Ministry, on a doctor’s order, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and European Affairs Minister Roth had to be quarantined for two weeks. Zaharieva is also in quarantine, but not the two ministers of North Macedonia.
A meeting of the ambassadors of the EU member states is taking place today, during which the negotiating framework for North Macedonia will be formed. If there is no solution today because of Sofia’s demands, which are not supported by anyone in the EU, high and shadow diplomacy will have ten more days to find a solution before the ministerial meeting./ibna