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A compromise within reach: Will North Macedonia and Bulgaria agree on the 'French proposal' and unlock EU negotiation talks?

North Macedonia's government parties are preparing to send the 'French proposal' for lifting the Bulgarian blockade on the country's EU accession talks to parliament. Nationalist protesters reject the French EU proposal that might help continue EU accession talks.
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Last week, the French Presidency sent a draft proposal to the government of North Macedonia to clear the country's EU accession talks by removing the Bulgarian blockade over history and identity issues.

While North Macedonia did not accept the first draft, Bulgarian lawmakers voted in favour of the government lifting its veto on EU membership talks for North Macedonia and (respectively) Albania.

The French proposal was then amended and sent to Skopje again - exact details remain unpublished. North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said that the country's core demands, especially for guarantees about the Macedonian language and identity, had been addressed now and that he would need to consult in the next step with the President, the opposition, the parliament and the civic organisations.

President Stevo Pendarovski on Sunday signalled that the proposal is acceptable and a basis for progress. It would include securing the rights of the Bulgarian minority in North Macedonia. However, it is still uncertain whether Bulgaria would again put it to parliament for adoption after receiving the revised draft.

In the meantime, in North Macedonia, thousands of people joined protests led by the nationalist, right-wing opposition party VMRO-DPMNE against the French proposal.