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Ways of Collaboration - Initiative for Bilateral Relations between North Macedonia and Bulgaria

In capacity of Michal Vit we have been involved in the initiative "Ways of Cooperation" between North Macedonia and Bulgaria to provide inspiration for strengthening dialogue in bilateral relations. Michal Vit presented a paper searching motivations and foundations of dynamics of bilateral relations. The paper draws attention to the changing dynamics of economic cooperation, particularly concerning the role of Germany and the shared experience of V4 economies. It highlights the limitations and challenges of intra-Visegrad economic collaboration, showing that it primarily occurs when the member states perceive mutual benefits, often related to their relations with Germany.

The paper discusses the potential impacts of the EU's 2021-2027 financing framework on cross-border collaboration and highlights the need for national priorities to drive such cooperation. It emphasizes that regional cooperation in the V4 relies on shared interests and serves as an outcome of practical economic considerations rather than political strategies. The V4 countries tend to react to EU priorities rather than actively shape them.

It suggests that the experience of the CEE region, particularly the V4, can offer insights and lessons for bilateral relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. However, it notes that these bilateral relations differ from the V4 dynamics due to the unique historical experiences, limited institutionalization, and the absence of a strong regional economic driver comparable to Germany. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of shared interests and incentives in driving regional cooperation, and it highlights the challenges and potential for deeper collaboration between Bulgaria and North Macedonia in light of their evolving political dynamics.

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