Pace of granting Bulgarian citizenship slowed

Official statistics for the years 2001 to 2013 again have confirmed a well-known trend, of people from Macedonia topping the list of those granted Bulgarian citizenship.

In all, a total of 51 391 people from Macedonia got Bulgarian passports, far ahead of Serbians at 4099 and Russians at 2478.

The number of Bulgarian citizenships granted to people from Turkey appears to be on the rise, although the number for 2001 to 2013 is 340, of these 56 were granted in 2013.

In recent years, anti-Bulgarian articles in some sections of the British press have claimed a supposed “passport free-for-all” in which Bulgarian passports are handed out freely to people from non-European Union states who then use them to penetrate EU countries such as Britain.

The somewhat more sober view of recent trends in granting Bulgarian citizenship is that when the former centre-right GERB government came to power in 2009, it moved to make up the backlog of many thousands of applications for citizenship that had built up over the years. Officials were ordered to work at a less tardy pace.

That government boasted of Bulgarian citizenship applications being handled swifter and more efficiently, but the current Bulgarian Socialist Party government that took power in May 2013 has a different perspective.

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