Reuniting Europe

I saw complaints from what appears to be heavy and even abusive procedures with diploma legalisation in Bulgaria, in various emails, letters, on-line forums etc.

It could be useful if such information was more centralised. In any case, I’m happy to gather such experiences.

I would also appreciate if graduates would say why they think the procedures are so heavy.

Some say that it’s because of the franchised Western universities operating in Bulgaria. Apparently, the Bulgarian authorities are waging a war against those universities. In any case, reportedly, they don’t recognise their diplomas.

But a recent court case concerning Greece has set a legal precedent, meaning that the Bulgarian authorities should recognise such diplomas.

I think diplomas from another EU country should need no legalisation whatsoever across the Union. But we are not there yet, and diplomas recognition remain a matter of member countries.

Maybe we should use the European citizen initiative (ECI) to help put in place EU legislation stating that diplomas from one EU country are automatically valid across the EU.

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  1. Dear Sir,

    I would like to draw your attention on the fact that the world’s oldest university is not La Sorbonne in Paris but Bologna in Italy.


    Romain S.

  2. Dear all,

    Sorbon or Bologna, they are treated the same in Bulgaria – they need to prove to the Bulgarian state they are indeed recognized universities. this is a highly problematic causus of discrimination that the poorer EU countries do as a desparate and wrong tragetted reaction to brain-drain. The Bulgarian Ministry of Education wrongly assumes that by discriminating the graduates from western universities at home, this will cause less people being motivated to go abroad. This however causes a breach of the right sof the western universities in Bulgaria on one side, because inspite of the BOLOGNA process, where bulgaria formally participates, the country trie sto use its mechanisms to implicitly prohibit or put maximim barriers to the development of the Bulgarian scientific world as part of the European scientific society (due to ignorant fears). Besides the discrimination towards the western universities, this however results into a severe breech of rights for us, the students from bulgaria, who have studied abroad. The country refuses to recognize our elementary student rights and harms our human economic and social rights in our own country. We do not have equal chance for access to the labour market, and our carrer development is banned within the boundarie sof the public sector – wehere western education could afford for a smoothe rand real social change within the administrative mechanisms of our country, democracy is not a written agreement you participate, it is actual implementation. We have signed the Bologna process, but the Bulgarian min of education still exorcizes against those who have been abroad, or studied abroad or been in touch with the western civilization – a remnant from the worst from our previous economic and scocial order. There are howevre many progressive people on all levels of the Bulgarian state and HOPEFULLY they will be able to repair this severe breech of international agreements and human rights that happens with this undercover existing retrogradive mechanism within the ministry of education, Bulgaria – which is an inhereted problem – not a problem created by the current Minister. i personally hope prof. ignatove, with his visionary approach to modern education will CHANGE this problem. I have stated my personal case in the group of letters a group of bulgarian students has already sent to the attention to Mr. Barroso with the help of our foreign university initiative.

    Kind regards,

  3. Dear all,
    For the information of the audience of this internet space: my case involves graduating each of my levels of education: BA, MA and PhD in three different countries: UK (Portsmouth University), Italy (University of Trento) and Germany (University of Regensburg) – all quite respectful in the scientific world institutions. All my tree diplomas HOWEVER will be subject to reconsideration and EVENTUAL legalization at the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria, INSTEAD of being automatically recognized as valid, because of being EU degrees.

    I have worked in Bulgaria, even for the public sector because of my skills without a legalized diploma AS AN EXCEPTION and against the rules postulated by the Ministry of Education, but my human and economic rights were still severely transpassed. The Agency for Economic rAnalysis and Planning, national development Plan Department wanted my expertise at the time i applie dthere. However, i turned out to be considered non-elegible to be appointed as a public servant since my diploma was not legalized by the Min of Education, and i was ONLY allowed to be an extrenal consultant (which also meant lower remuneration, and the frustrating fact that i cannot develop my career in Bulgaria, because a temporary extrenal consultant contract simply cannot be kept forevre neither transformed into a permanent contract becaus eof the not legalized diploma).

    At present, due to all these complications, i have left my country and i work for the German Institute for Employment Research. I would prefer to work for my own country if i had this chance.

    Warm greetings,

  4. I am one of the bulgarian students you are talking about. In November 2010, I applied for a Master’s Degree Program in Optometry in the University of Sofia with an apostil attached to my University of Portsmouth diploma (BA(HONS) in Business Administration). I was told that I should apply with a legalized diploma by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education (MON) instead. It has been 5 months since I submitted my diploma for legalization in NACID (the institution, which is responsible for the legalization of diplomas and other documents, part of MON) and it has not yet even been inspected by the commission responsible for the legalization. This commission is summoned every month. I have already missed the first and second terms in the University of Sofia and nobody knows when all this is going to end…It is obvious that the Bulgarian authorities are waging a war against the franchised Western universities operating in Bulgaria. I believe EU should follow the steps, which they previously took in the Case C-274/05
    Commission v Greece. Otherwise we will not have the chance to continue our studying in our own country…

  5. Tova e taka, Bulgaria tryabva chas po-byrzo da uredi tozi vypros i da otvori otdel kudeto se legalizirat diplomi ot Chujdestranni Universiteti!

  6. Your article raises an issue which affects the life of over 400,000 people in Bulgaria, including the familiy members of those with foreign degrees. Over 80,000 alumni could add knowledge, skills and inspiration to the Bulgarian state and local administration, and get further education if not stopped by the Ministry of education. My personal feeling is that this system for (non)recognition of the foreign degrees was developed as a way to get bribes. I would hardly believe that someone of high rank at a ministry, with higher (in some cases legal) education, would systematically violate EU Directive 89/48 and EU Court of Justice Decision 274/05 unless money is involved. The people of high rank (ministers, judges) who are highly paid and who have what to lose in case of a public scandal, would never violate a law (i.e. Directive 89/48) or a Court judgement but for BIG money.

    I would say that whenever high rank state/legal officials, with higher education, violate the law/court judgment, this is always a 100% indirect evidence for criminal behaviour.

  7. Dear Sirs,

    I am one of the many Bulgarian university graduates you discuss in this article. I graduated the International University/University of Portsmouth in 2005. Naturally I applied for recognition of my diploma by the Ministry of Education. I paid all these fees that you mentioned, however I waited a lot longer to receive a reply from the Ministry. Initially the commission refused to consider my diploma and in October 2009 I finally received their answer – it was negative. The commission refused to recognize my diploma. As a result of that I am not eligible to continue further my education in Bulgaria, nor am I eligible to work in the public administration. Fortunately there are many progressive young people and me and some other colegues of mine with the help of the University administration have started our case as we have sent a letter to Mr. Barroso. We are looking forward to his actions and hope that we will soon be entitled to our basic sivil rights… I wish success to all the others who struggle with the heavy, slow and unfair system in Bulgaria!!!

  8. continued…

    One more thing to add here:

    Yesterday in the news there was a report on BTV channel regarding the legalization of the diplomas. The representative of NACID who was interviewed regarding this matter, proudly claimed that in Bulgaria we have one of the fastest legalization procedures compared to EU (moreover, it is free of charge). I find this…”amusing” because it has been exactly six months since I gave my diploma for legalization and every time I go there to check what is happening, the administrators and chiefs of departments are always hiding like cockroaches, avoiding the opportunity of speaking face to face with me and explain the reason why they do not make the legalization. The diploma is not even entering for ispection by the commission, which is responsible for the legalization. They do not legalize it, but what is worse, they do not also officially refuse to do it and I do not even have the chanses of taking any further actions, like sue them. The only thing I can do is officially withdraw my documents from the procedure, which will automatically bring me back into the position of being uneducated according to our laws, which is the case at the moment, by the way. So what do I do?…

  9. It is about time for Bulgaria to decide on whether it will be part of the European union or not!!!

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