Bulgarian Parliament Votes to End CBI-Program in First Reading

During the first reading of the draft bill this week, the Bulgarian National Assembly voted in favor of the amended nationality act that, if finally promulgated, will see the termination of the country’s semi-direct citizenship by investment program.

The bill’s initial sponsor, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Justice, cites a lack of real investment and EU uneasiness about such policies as reasons the program should be scrapped.

What happens next?

Members of Parliament will now have a chance to submit written motions for amendments to the bill before it moves onto the second reading. The Committee for Constitutional and Legislative Issues will also prepare a report on the draft bill that includes an impact assessment and opinions on the various MPs’ proposed amendments to the draft.

During the second reading, parliamentarians will debate the bill paragraph-by-paragraph before a vote takes place. If MPs vote to adopt the bill during the second reading, the legal act is sent to the President of Bulgaria for signature and decree promulgation. 15 days after that, it is published in the Gazette, at which point it becomes law.

Ivan Petrov of New Balkans Law Office has previously explained how a final adoption of the bill is far from a foregone conclusion:

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“This is an early stage in the current legislative review process and it is far from certain what changes, if any, will be adopted after the Bill passes through the Committees in Parliament and is voted on in two separate stages in a parliament that is highly divided politically,” Petrov told IMI two weeks ago.

The bill has now passed the first hurdle.

But Petrov also pointed out that this was not the first time the program had appeared moribund:

“Those following Bulgarian CBI will recall that the current version of the Citizenship Act started off in January 2019 with a proposal for abolition similar to the one the media mentioned now, but ended up instead with the change of qualifying investment types in March 2021, more than two years later.”

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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