France has traditionally been a capital of sympathy reinforced by its support for Bulgaria’s dual candidacy to the European Union and NATO and, more recently, its role in the release of Bulgarian medical staff held in Libya, on July 24th, 2007.
Dialogue with Bulgaria has significantly grown since the early 2000s with several visits by the Prime Minister and many ministerial visits. In this very favorable context, the President of the Republic made an official visit to Sofia on October 4th, 2007, accompanied by State Secretary for European Affairs Jouyet. In addition to the honor paid to President Sarkozy by President Parvanov for the medical staff’s release, the visit was an opportunity for both parties to affirm their common desire to establish a strategic partnership between France and Bulgaria.
In this regard, the strategic partnership agreement signed between France and Bulgaria on July 4th, 2008 on the occasion of the Bulgarian Prime Minister’s visit to Paris is the culmination of our efforts to build a close and fruitful relationship. Indeed, it provides for strengthened cooperation between France and Bulgaria in several areas including the economy, defense, as well as justice and European affairs. Bulgaria is the fifth new Member State in the European Union with which France has signed such a partnership governed by a road map that could be updated later in 2011.
More recently, Minister of Justice Rachida Dati’s visit on September 8th, 2008 to Sophia noted the quality of our cooperation in judicial and criminal matters (more than 50 European arrest warrants have been executed by Bulgaria at the request of France since January 1st, 2007) and our convergence of views on European policies in the field of justice and home affairs (including matters relating to the mechanism for cooperation and verification, where we saw the Bulgarian authorities’ good will and constructive attitude).
2009 was an opportunity to celebrate two events that profoundly affected the bilateral relationship: President Mitterrand’s visit to Bulgaria on January 18th-19th, 1989, was particularly marked by meetings with dissidents and students, a few months before the fall of communism; the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Bulgaria on July 8th, 1879, whose 130th anniversary was highlighted by the French Embassy by producing a book of photographs of the Russo-Turkish war that resulted in Bulgaria’s independence in 1878.
Secretary of State for European Affairs Mr. Pierre Lellouche’s visit to Sofia on September 7th and 8th, 2009, and Mr. Borissov’s visit to Paris on October 12th, 2009, at the invitation of President of the Republic, have confirmed the new government’s desire to work closely with France, and its willingness to give new impetus to the strategic partnership, particularly in the following areas: government reform and good governance, defense and armaments, energy.
Updated on 15.06.11