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Bulgaria: President vetoes citizenship bill

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) -- Bulgaria's president has vetoed a bill that would offer citizenship to foreigners ready to invest at least $650,000 in the Balkan country's struggling economy.

In a statement Thursday, Rosen Plevneliev criticized the proposal, saying that "the assessment whether to grant citizenship or not cannot be based on financial arguments."

Bulgaria, which joined the 27-nation European Union in 2007 and is the bloc's poorest member, is trying to reverse the severe drop in foreign direct investment from $8.5 billion in 2008 to $2.3 billion in 2011.

Parliament approved the citizenship measure earlier this month by a simple majority, and it can do so again. The president, who went against his own ruling party on the bill, does not have the right to a second veto.