Finance Minister hands Bulgarian passport to major Italian investor Miroglio

Edoardo Miroglio, the Italian investor who has brought many million euro in investments in the textile and wine industries in Bulgaria in the past more than a decade, was personally handed a Bulgarian passport by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov at a ceremony on January 29 2013.

The handover took place 19 days after the awarding of Bulgarian citizenship to Miroglio became official.

Miroglio, whose family has been in the textile business in Italy for about a century, has major investments in textile factories in the towns of Sliven, Yambol and Nova Zagora. His company is in the office leasing business at the World Trade Centre Sofia.

In 2002, Miroglio invested more than 22 million euro in a wine cellar in the region of Elenovo village, 15km from Nova Zagora. The first wines went on the market in 2005. Wines from the cellar, which include Edoardo Miroglio and Sant Ilia, have won awards domestically and internationally.

The number of jobs created by Miroglio investments in Bulgaria run into four figures, estimated at 2200, while his total investments in Bulgaria are reported to exceed 350 million euro.

Local media said that Miroglio recently had donated 50 000 leva (about 25 000 euro) worth of equipment to a hospital in the town of Sliven.

Dyankov said that entrepreneurs from abroad were interested in investing in Bulgaria and being awarded Bulgarian citizenship.

He said that he expected a new wave of investors, mainly from the United States.

Dyankov said that in the past two to three years, there had been significant interest in investment in two sectors in Bulgaria, the manufacturing of software and in production of motor vehicle parts. He said that by the end of 2013, he expected further entries in the motor vehicle production industry in Bulgaria, although he declined to give further details.

Bulgaria is in the process of legislating a link between significant foreign investment and the awarding of passports. A first attempt in 2012 was met with a veto by President Rossen Plevneliev who pointed out inconsistencies in the proposed law and said that the issue of linking investment to citizenship, where the latter meant a special long-term link between an individual and the state, had not been fully thought through.

Parliament voted to accept Plevneliev’s proposal and embarked on revisions to the proposed law. In early January 2013, Dyankov proposed that the investment threshold for permanent residence (for a period of five years) be lowered to 500 000 leva, with the option for third-party nationals to apply for Bulgarian citizenship after that five-year period.

After the passport handover ceremony, local media quoted Dyankov as saying that he preferred entrepreneurs like Miroglio to become Bulgarian citizens “rather than artists like Depardieu” – a reference to the controversial awarding of a Russian passport to the actor who had objected to the socialist French government’s proposed high tax rate on the wealthy.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)




The Sofia Globe staff

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