In Europe, we have a long tradition of annual national championships for citizens only. To crown a national champion. Which, generally, also qualifies for participation in a European championship and/or a World championship.
In sports, certainly, but also within the fields of the cultural and the educational.
In addition to this, the associations may hold “open” national championships too. With participation open to foreigners.
This tradition has carried into pinball. And I hope IFPA will (continue to) endorse one competition annually, per country, held under these terms.
Side note. For open competitions, there is not anywhere near as much participation from foreign countries, as we saw 5-10 years ago. More options to play pinball nowadays.