The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry formally expressed its “surprise” that only 3,504 people in Macedonia registered as ethnic Bulgarians. Bulgaria was hoping this number will run into tens of thousands, after it issued between 80 and 120 thousands dual passports to Macedonian citizens.

The Republic of Bulgaria has often pointed out that it puts enormous importance on conditions for free expression and self-identification of citizens with Bulgarian consciousness in Macedonia and that their rights are guaranteed. In this regard, it is enormous surprise to see the results from the census. We note that there is drastic misalignment between these results and the number of 100,000 citizens of Macedonia who personally submitted documents to show their Bulgarian consciousness and origin, to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. Additionally, the fact that 7.2 percent (132,260 citizens) were not counted according to their ethnic and religious belonging is subject to serious analysis, the Foreign Ministry said.