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New Policy Towards Bulgarians Abroad February 16, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria.
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Bojidar Dimitrov
Bulgaria’s Minister without portfolio in charge of the Agency for the Bulgarians abroad

The number of Bulgarians living around the world and within the country, totals 11 million people. The population of Bulgaria counts 7.5 million including mainly Bulgarians, ethnical Turks and Romanies. The Bulgarians, who live around the world are between 3 and 4 million people and could be categorized in two groups. One of them includes Bulgarian citizens, who have left this country in the last hundred years and who currently live and work across the world. This group numbers 1-1.5 million people. The second group includes Bulgarians, who remained living in foreign countries due to territorial annexations as a result of the wars in XX century or as a result of mass migrations in the period XVII-XIX century. Such are the Bulgarian communities in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and others. The total number of the Bulgarians in these countries is about 2-2.5 million. The number might be even bigger, because in some courtiers such as Macedonia, Greece and Albania when a census is taken, there is no entry ‘Bulgarian’. In other countries such as Serbia, Moldova and Ukraine although the local legislation recognizes the existence of Bulgarian minority, bearing great discomfort the Bulgarians determined their status as other than Bulgarians when census are conducted.
The Bulgarian government has commitments to these four million Bulgarians. The official policy towards them should be based on two main postulates.
The first postulate should be that anything the Bulgarian state decides to do for them should result from their own clearly expressed wish and should, of course, correspond with the legislation of the state in which they live, as well as with the EU legislation. The second postulate is of even greater significance than the first one. Our Bulgarian compatriots, living abroad, have been called “emigrants,” a term which has been coined to denote a person who has left his fatherland forever, who doesn’t maintain any contacts with relatives and friends there and is actually denationalized for second, maximum third generation.
The modern technology revolution in conditions of globalization has changed the very essence of the term “emigrant” which is on the verge of utter disappearance. The distance between the world’s most distant point and Bulgaria is 24 hours in the worst of all possible cases. The Internet, the mobile phones and the satellite TVs bring the Bulgarian language, history and culture right to your home in Chicago or Pretoria at the very moment you wish to “let them in.” This means that the word “emigrant” should be replaced by “a Bulgarian living abroad”.

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