The Citizenship Council approved Friday, during its regular weekly meeting, a record number of Bulgarian citizenship applications – 560.
They include applications of 331 Macedonians, 189 Moldavians, 36 Albanians, and the rest are from the Ukraine, Russia, Israel and others.
The Minister for Bulgarians Abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov, says the Council usually approves 450 applications, adding the record can be attributed to Bulgarian women married to foreigners, pushing them to become Bulgarian citizens.
“I am pleasantly surprised by the increased number of applications from Americans, Canadians, Irish, Austrians, people who really don't need a Bulgarian passport to travel around the world. They are also prepared to make donations to scientific research, churches, monasteries. And when I tried to find out the reason, I discovered they are married to Bulgarian women and love them so much they wish to become Bulgarian citizens. And they will get it – for contributions to Bulgarian culture, science and education,” Dimitrov says.
6 103 have been granted Bulgarian citizenship between January and April, 2010 – 4 562 from Macedonia.
According to the Minister, about 4 million Bulgarians live abroad. The country's population by the end of 2009 is 7 563 710 people, official statistics show.