Bulgarian interim Justice Minister Janaki Stoilov announced that he will speed up the procedure for applying for Bulgarian citizenship, while also reviewing the activities of the previous conservative Government in this regard. Bulgaria put in place a program for issuing citizenships to Macedonians and citizens of other neighboring countries, provided they declare a Bulgarian identity.
About 100,000 Macedonians have used the option, most of them using it as a shortcut toward moving and working in Germany and other EU countries.
We want to admit more of our compatriots but not by circumventing the law – we want its strict application. The applicants must have a Bulgarian origin that needs to be traced to, say, three generations in the past, directly. We have already reduced the room for abuse and favoritism by certain groups and parties, Stoilov said in an interview with the MIA news agency.
The current caretaker Government is tasked with organizing elections, but its main focus seems to be to investigate abuses by the previous Borisov Government, whose coalition partner Krasimir Karakacanov was often accused of taking over the program for issuing Bulgarian passports to Macedonian citizens. An investigation into the process was launched in 2018, and it found numerous abuses and corruption with officials selling access to the program and the coveted citizenships. Karakacanov was using the program to support his claims that there is a large and mistreated Bulgarian minority in Macedonia.