Bulgaria, UK sign statement on strengthening co-operaton against organised crime in immigration

On behalf of their governments, Bulgarian Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov and UK Minister of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick signed on November 13 a joint statement on strengthening co-operation in the fight against and prevention of organised crime in the field of immigration, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said.

The signing took place as Stoyanov accompanied Jenrick on a visit to Bulgaria’s Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint with Turkey.

“Bulgaria is a very strong ally of ours in this fight and we look forward to further developing and deepening our successful co-operation,” the Bulgarian Interior Ministry quoted Jenrick as saying.

He said that the joint work would be beneficial for both countries to end and disrupt the activities of organised crimine groups involved in trafficking.

Stoyanov said that the signing of the document was the result of two months of intensive work by the Ministry of the Interior and the Customs Agency.

“We have made significant progress with regard to cargo in transit, procedures for inspections and the corresponding seizure of illegally transported boats, engines and accessories for them that do not meet European standards,” Stoyanov said.

“This proves the ongoing efforts of our country to fight against illegal migration,” he said.

Stoyanov said that the UK was giving Bulgaria “serious and extremely active support”.

The Interior Ministry said that the signing of the joint statement means closer co-operation at the operational level, strengthening the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities through Europol, Eurojust, Interpol, the liaison officers of the two countries, exchange of officials from the sphere of security, law enforcement, border management and migration.

Stoyanov said that Bulgaria’s Border Police was “fulfilling its duties perfectly”, the 30 per cent reinforcement of the Bulgarian-Turkish border was achieved.

The result was that in the past two months, attempts to illegally cross the border added up to no more than 300 to 400 a day, the ministry said.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved the joint statement, which was proposed by the UK, at a sitting on October 11. It was meant to have been co-signed earlier, but an October 16-17 visit by Jenrick was postponed.

The joint statement envisages the setting up of a joint working group, with co-chairpersons from Bulgaria and the UK, with the group required to come up with ways to deepen bilateral co-operation between the relevant bodies and with assessing the activities carried out.

It is intended that the working group will meet once every three months, involving representatives of all relevant institutions from Bulgaria and the UK.

The joint statement is not legally binding and does not require parliamentary ratification, the Cabinet said after its October 11 meeting.

(Photo: Interior Ministry)

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