The United Kingdom is a strategic partner in Europe, an important ally within NATO and a valuable party to issues of regional and global scale. We expect that this will remain unchanged after the outcome of the UK referendum, said Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov during a meeting on Monday with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
The talks, held as part of Mitov's working visit to the UK, focused on bilateral relations in areas of mutual interest such as security, the migration crisis, the fight against terrorism, cooperation within NATO and a vision for EU's future after the referendum in the UK.
"Ensuring Europe's security is a priority goal for Bulgaria and the UK. We have agreed to step up cooperation in managing migration flows and in the fight against terrorism," Minister Mitov said, adding that the UK recognises the importance of the protection of the Bulgarian-Turkish border as first external border of the EU and that Bulgaria expects a solidarity-based approach to building up capacities for maximum border security and for combating effectively illegal migration and human trafficking.
The meeting also covered topics ranging from the conflict in Syria, the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and the need for assistance in that respect. The foreign ministers emphasized the need for joint efforts on the part of the European countries, including Bulgaria and the UK, to resolve the crisis and uphold international humanitarian law.
With regard to the cooperation within NATO, Minister Mitov said the British government has agreed to participate in the enhanced NATO presence along the Southeastern Flank in the context of the relevant decisions made at the NATO Summit in Warsaw.
Minister Mitov and Minister Johnson also conversed about the future relations of the EU member states with Great Britain after the referendum and the triggering of the formal mechanism under Article 50. "From our point of view, it is crucial to guarantee the rights of the Bulgarian citizens that live and work in Great Britain. The British government is working on a mandate for negotiations, talks on this issue are upcoming with the status of the Bulgarians there, of course, set to form an essential element of that debate," Minister Mitov said during the meeting.