Bulgarian President Rumen Radev summoned the directors of the security services to discuss measures to protect the rights of Bulgarians abroad after he received a letter from the president of the “Ivan Mihailov” Cultural Centre in North Macedonia, as well as complaints from Bulgarians living in North Macedonia, claiming their rights are frequently being violated because they identify as ethnic Bulgarians.
Just ten days ago, Radev announced that one of the Bulgarian institutions’ tasks is to facilitate procedures for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship for those citizens of North Macedonia who openly declare their Bulgarian identity.
Sofia and Skopje should both immediately react to Bulgarians in North Macedonia who have said they are being discriminated against, the president added.
Over 100,000 North Macedonian citizens currently hold Bulgarian citizenship, while thousands of others are in the process of getting it.
According to official data, 9,098 people from North Macedonia acquired Bulgarian citizenship in 2020, of which half acquired a Bulgarian passport that same year. By comparison, the number of Macedonians acquiring Bulgarian citizenship in 2019 was 5,628, 3,619 in 2018, and 1,150 in 2017. Between 2012 and 2016, 25,447 people from North Macedonia acquired Bulgarian citizenship, and 33,530 in the five years before that.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)