Bulgarian member of the European Parliament Andrey Kovatchev responded to the census results in Macedonia by demanding that all Macedonians who received a Bulgarian passport are publicly named. Only about 3,500 people declared themselves as Bulgarians in the census, but Bulgaria has issued at least 80,000 dual passports to Macedonians who declared a Bulgarian ethnic origin. Overwhelmingly these passports are claimed by people who want to travel and work more freely in Europe, as citizens of an EU member state. But Bulgaria was hoping that this contingent will be an active, rights seeking minority group in Macedonia.
– Obtaining a Bulgarian passport by claiming Bulgarian origin can’t be a secret act. All who received Bulgarian citizenship by origin should be named. They are named in the US, in Canada, Germany and in France. It must not be a secret or considered to be shameful to sign a declaration that you feel to be a Bulgarian. We need a ceremony during the issuing of the citizenship, with a photograph in front of the flag and the coat of arms, Kovatchev said.