140 years of friendship
Diplomats, parliamentarians and friends of Bulgaria joined Europe Minister the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher, Bulgaria’s Ambassador Marin Raykov and British Ambassador to Sofia Emma Hopkins at Lancaster House to toast 140 years of British-Bulgarian Diplomatic Relations.
Speaking on the eve of Britain’s departure from the EU, Minister Pincher said that “friendship endures” between Britain and Bulgaria, underpinned by the growing people-to-people ties between the two nations.
Ambassador Raykov, in his address, paid tribute to the ambassadors who laid the first foundations of these strong ties, Lord Palgrave and Mr Dimitar Tsokov, and praised Britain’s role in Bulgaria’s National Revolution as well as the refuge provided to dissidents and democrats during the Cold War.
Returning to the present day, Ambassador Raykov pointed to the flourishing bilateral ties the two countries have developed – across the board in trade, politics, security and defence, notably in the Balkans. And looking to the post-Brexit future, he said: “I am convinced that relations between Bulgaria and the UK have become so close that we are compelled not only to preserve, but to further develop and deepen our partnership.”
Certificates were awarded to those who have actively contributed to popularizing Bulgarian culture in the UK.
As guests enjoyed fine Bulgarian wine and a mixed menu of British roast beef and Bulgarian sarmi and kebapcheta, they were able to view a historical exhibition on the evolution of bilateral ties curated by the British Embassy in Bulgaria, as well as an exhibition on Bulgaria through the eyes of women travellers from the 18th-20th centuries, by the Diplomatic Institute at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The National Archives also showcased its collection original maps and documents connected to British-Bulgarian ties.