North Macedonia’s NATO air policing program is reportedly being discussed by Skopje and Sofia as part of the bid to find common ground that will resolve a conflict between the two neighboring countries that has led Bulgaria to raise obstacles to North Macedonia’s European Union accession.
These discussions could see Bulgaria joining forces with its NATO allies Greece and Italy, which, at the request of Skopje and within the framework of NATO, are responsible for North Macedonia’s airspace surveillance.
Greece and Italy currently monitor the airspace of North Macedonia fortnightly. The Hellenic Air Force also has training sessions with the armed forces of North Macedonia, which entails Greek F-16s flying over North Macedonia even more frequently.
Bulgaria has threatened to block North Macedonia from joining the EU if it does not recognize that the nation and its language has Bulgarian roots.