LONDON, England – The UK will tackle illegal migration, serious organised crime and Russian disinformation through a new strategic partnership with Bulgaria.
The joint declaration signed by foreign secretary James Cleverly and his counterpart, Mariya Gabriel, in London 24 October 2023, will drive cooperation on shared challenges facing European countries, including organised crime and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The signing follows an agreement announced earlier this month between prime minister Rishi Sunak and prime minister Nikolai Denkov to tackle illegal migration and organised immigration crime with increased intelligence sharing and operational cooperation.
“The UK has stepped up cooperation on law enforcement since 2020, providing training and equipment to the Bulgarian authorities, including customs and border police, to disrupt the operations of criminal networks,” said Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) press release. “The ministers are also expected to discuss the challenging situation in Israel and Gaza and the importance of regional security.”
The new “joint declaration on the UK-Bulgaria Strategic Partnership” also reflects a shared ambition to further enhance close cooperation, including an increase in academic mobility, R&D and digital trade, as well as boosting links between businesses through the Bulgaria Expansion Bridge, which supports companies to set up in the UK.
Foreign secretary Cleverly, said:
“The UK and Bulgaria are strong friends and partners. From our joint work tackling illegal migration and serious organised crime, to our unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. This strategic partnership cements our commitment to strengthening our cooperation in areas like trade, education and technology, which will help to grow both of our economies.”
During their meeting the foreign ministers emphasised the need to continue to support Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression and restore security in the Black Sea region.
“The UK and Bulgaria have been resolute in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, in the provision of lethal aid to Ukraine, and aligning closely in the implementation of the largest package of sanctions targeted against those supporting the war in Ukraine.”
The joint declaration demonstrates both countries’ commitment to a wide-ranging relationship, building on over 140 years of strong ties. The foreign ministers also discussed their intention to set up a UK-Bulgaria bilateral forum in the future.