The liberalization of the visa regime stopped the applications of Macedonian citizens for Bulgarian citizenship, the number of which assumed dangerous proportions, the Macedonian Dnevnik newspaper writes.
Over the last days the announcements in media about mediation in acquiring Bulgarian citizenship are few and the number of people, who ask for mediation, is even lower. There is some interest in Bulgarian passports, mainly in cases of buying of automobiles.
Analysts were pointing out that it gives a proof that Macedonians want Bulgarian citizenship for economic reasons.
“It is not clear yet how many Macedonian citizens have acquired Bulgarian citizenship. Only Bulgarian ambassador to Skopje Miho Mihov in 2007 said that nearly 10 000 Macedonian citizens have acquired Bulgarian citizenship. He emphasized that more than 60 000 people are waiting for Bulgarian passports,” the paper writes.
A citizen of Skopje, who has been occupied with mediation in applying for Bulgarian citizenship, said that nobody calls in reference to his announcements anymore.
“Enquiries have ceased. People consider it unnecessary as next year they will be able to travel with their Macedonian passports. Besides, the procedure for obtaining a Bulgarian passport is lengthy and any applicant will have to wait for at least two years. Bulgarian I.D. cards are still in demand as they can be used for the purchase of cheap motor-cars and be driven later in Macedonia” the intermediary pointed out.
“The procedure for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship required filing of a declaration that the applicant’s ancestors were of Bulgarian decent. Macedonian citizens’ interest in obtaining Bulgarian passports suddenly increased when some time ago the EU allowed Bulgarian citizens to travel across the EU without visas. Macedonians spotted their chance of obtaining employment abroad at a time of persistent economic crisis and high unemployment rate in their own country,” the newspaper points out.
Vladimir Bozinovski of the Institute for Democracy, Solidarity and Civil Society has stated that applications for Bulgarian citizenship are expected to cease.
“This is to show the people have not changed their awareness of national belonging. It was clear that the lack of options for employment in the country compelled them to seek ways to travel within the EU. Had our citizens felt to be Bulgarians the tendency would have started back in 1991 and not when Bulgaria was granted the liberalized visa regime” Bozinovski stated.