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.

Gianfranco Brusaporci

Gianfranco Brusaporci

Gianfranco Brusaporci has completed his PhD studies in Political Sciences at the Université Catholique de Louvain and at New Bulgarian University. His research interests range from Cross-Border Cooperation and Border Studies, to Multi-Level Governance and Regionalism, from Comparative Politics and Comparative research methods to Ethnic and Religious voting behavior, Minority and ethnic issues, Local governance and development, with a focus on South-Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He was awarded of the Central European Initiative prize (2011), the Erasmus Mundus Scolarship (2013-2014) and the Martini scholarship promoted by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (2013).

1. What are the innovative aspects of the European citizenship?
2. How can the European citizenship foster a new perspective on ethnic and social relations among EU citizens?
3. What is the EU Youth Strategy?
4. How do young Bulgarian people perceive European citizenship and how do they link it to a new shared notion of diversity and minority rights?
5. How does the ethnic self-identification influence the answers of the young interviewees?

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Southeastern Europe