Separatists in northwest Bulgaria seek autonomy or to join Romania
- DAILY SABAH, ISTANBUL
- Jan 06, 2018
In the latest micronationalist bid in Europe, a group in northwest Bulgaria started collecting signatures for a declaration of separation from the country that would either lead to autonomy or to joining their northern neighbors Romania.
The movement, which apparently stems from economic problems and corruption in the Balkan country, covers the provinces of Vidin, Vratsa and Montana, Bulgarian news outlet novinite.com reported.
The protest's organizer and leading petitioner, Boris Kamenov, said the reason why the group wanted to join Romania was the country's more effective fight against corruption.
He also said that the people in the Northwest needed "a man like Puidgemont," referring to the ousted leader of Spain's Catalonia region that seeks larger autonomy or independence.
The move seems as a protest to current conditions in Bulgaria and is not expected to gain popular support since all three regions have historically been parts of Bulgarian principalities and kingdoms, and Bulgarians constitute approximately 90 percent of the population.
However, Kamenov points to the rebellious nature of the region, citing the uprisings against the Ottoman Empire, as well as the communist September 1923 uprising against the Kingdom of Bulgaria.
Local news outlets report that economic conditions in the area are worse than the rest of Bulgaria, topped with migration and low birthrates.
According to the official statistics of Bulgaria for 2016, the unemployment rates in Vidin and Vratsa are at 16.3 and 13.6, respectively, which are significantly higher than the national average of 7.6 percent.