Bulgarian President Rumen Radev convened a meeting of top Government officials to put forward a new policy on issuing passports to ethnic Bulgarian abroad. Under this policy, during the previous administrations, Bulgaria has issued between 80 and 120 thousand passports to Macedonian citizens, as well as large quantities of dual citizenships to Moldova, Ukraine and other countries.

According to Radev, the new policy will be geared toward even easier issuing of passports. He blamed bureaucratic measures of obstructing many applicants who could not gather enough documents to prove their Bulgarian ethnic origin.

The office of the President has received many signals from our compatriots from abroad who face unsurmountable obstacles when applying for Bulgarian citizenship, Radev said.

He met with his Vice President Ilijana Jotova, Foreign Minister Teodora Gencovska, Justice Minister Nadezda Jordanova and her deputy Julija Kovaceva, to prepare the new policy.

Bulgaria, and especially the nationalist VMRO-BND party, hoped that the massive issuing of dual citizenships in Macedonia will help bolster a sense of Bulgarian belonging and a large minority community in Macedonia. But most applicants use the passports to access the Western European labour market and only 355 people self-identified as ethnic Bulgarians during the census held last year.