A woman carries supplies with her donkey in a street in the village of Trebisht, some 160 km south-east of Tirana, on April 26, 2017. AFP / Gent SHKULLAKU
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Trebisht in northeastern Albania looks like a ghost village, emptied of its residents by a rush to get Bulgarian passports that open the door to the European Union.Bulgaria and Albania do not share a border.According to the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, which helps in obtaining a passport, Bulgarian families have been settled in Albania since the fifth century and their descendants are part of its diaspora.No statistics are available, but Bulgarian organizations in Albania estimate that there are around 100,000 of these descendants.In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Bulgarians from 19 localities in Albania asked Sofia to defend their rights in what was then an Italian protectorate, according to the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad.Between 2001 and 2016, a total of 4,470 Albanian nationals applied for a Bulgarian passport and 2,608 of them were successful, according to Sofia.Three people were arrested in December 2015 and later found guilty of making Bulgarian passports on demand for between 4,000 and 10,000 euros.
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