Contemporary Southeastern Europe
European Citizenship and Youth in Bulgaria: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis between Bulgarians and Bulgarian Turks
European citizenship is a new concept, which has evolved with the process of European integration. Starting from the younger generations, the EU seeks to establish a modern and innovative view of citizenship through three fundamental elements - rights, identity and participation - that could lead to new ways of conceiving the relationship of institutions-citizens and citizens-citizens. The idea of European citizenship tends to overcome the historical idea of national states and national identity. It does this by reinforcing its supranational nature and developing an attitude of tolerance towards diversity and human/minority rights. Thus, to verify the impact European citizenship has on the younger generation in Bulgaria, this research is based on an inter-ethnic sample of 30 interviews (16 Bulgarians, 14 Bulgarian Turks) and applies a qualitative comparative analysis method. This research seeks to answer these two main questions: 1) How do young Bulgarians perceive the concept of EU citizenship? 2) How do young Bulgarians perceive the new European citizenship in regard to the inter-ethnic relations in their own country? The study suggests that the EU’s attempt to promote European citizenship is underachieving. On the one hand, young Bulgarian people tend to be well exposed to European citizenship, irrespective of their ethnic belonging. On the other hand, the majority of them are sceptical of the tangible value of European citizenship for the reinforcement of a more encompassing and shared notion of diversity and minority rights.