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Treatment of Minorities

Treatment of Minorities A public opinion poll showed that the main threat to Bulgarians is felt by Turkey and migrants.

Events in former Yugoslavia in the past 25 years influenced the political views in society, with internationalist ideology giving place to moderate nationalism, based on the idea of building a Bulgarian nation upon traditions of the titular nation. In this regard, legal and political terminology in Bulgaria currently lacks the term “minorities” with respect to ethnic and religious groups.

In Bulgarian political life there is a consensus that recognising national minorities and declaring Bulgaria a multinational country would pose a serious threat to national security and peace in the country and region. To justify this, Bulgarian authorities argue that the term “minority” has no single European legal definition.

Hostile attitudes towards immigrants is growing in Bulgarian society. According to the Institute of Modern Policy, 60% of Bulgarians believe that the main threat to national security is radical Islam. 43% believe that it is the increasing inflow of refugees from “third-world countries”. Migrantophobic statements by some officials are likely to have had an effect on these results.

Ant-Roma sentiments are at high level in Bulgarian society. Speculating on the serious demographic problems – low birth rate and the resulting decrease in Bulgarian population – nationalists are intimidating the public with the high birth rate of the Roma population. Influenced by this propaganda, Bulgarians are becoming increasingly convinced that they are becoming a minority in their own country.

Study conducted by Swedish sociologists N. Bergen and T. Nilsson and published in May 2013 showed that 30% of respondents would not like to live near Asian or dark-skinned people. More than half of Slavic Bulgarians have a negative attitude towards local Roma.

Anti-Roma attitudes are evident from the fact that after the flood in Varna, volunteers were helping Bulgarian victims, while completely ignoring Roma.

There have been open cases of homophobia. On June 17, Bulgarian Orthodox Church urged the government and civil society organisations to prevent gay-pride from taking place in Sofia.

In June, a Facebook group emerged calling for violence against members of the Sofia gay-pride parade.

Bulgarian attitudes toward Muslims and Jews, according to Pew Research, are generally much more positive than, for example, in Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, or Greece. In 2019, for example, 21 percent of residents had a positive view of Muslims and 18 percent of residents had a positive view of Jews. However, the picture begins to change dramatically when it comes to the Roma and Sinti people.

The Roma and Sinti have been the target of attack and outright discrimination in Bulgaria for centuries. Radical right-wing organizations have attempted to make a name for themselves on the "Gypsy" issue. According to the same sociological service, in 2019 only 28 percent of the population had a positive attitude toward them and 68 percent had a negative one. In Bulgarian public discourse, Roma are often associated with people with asocial lifestyles and even criminals.

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