The U.S. State Department has now issued its 2023 Action Report on International Child Abduction.
Bulgaria has been declared by the State Department to be noncompliant with the Hague Abduction Convention.
The State Department has reported to Congress that within the past year it has taken the following actions in this regard against Bulgaria:
- Department officials, in Washington, DC and at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, continued to raise concerns over Bulgaria's pattern of noncompliance with Government of Bulgaria officials.
- In October 2022, Department officials from Washington, DC and U.S. Embassy Sofia met with the Bulgarian Central Authority and other Bulgarian stakeholders to discuss international parental child abduction issues. The Bulgarian Central Authority reported on efforts to resolve enforcement issues concerning Bulgarian court-ordered returns.
- In November 2022, Department officials proposed an International Visitor Leadership Program on international parental child abduction. The purpose of this program was to conduct an informational exchange between U.S. and Bulgarian officials who are responsible for implementing the Convention. The program is scheduled to take place in July 2023.
- In April 2023, the Special Advisor for Children's Issues and U.S. Embassy Sofia met again with the Bulgarian Central Authority and key stakeholders to 9 improve Bulgaria's processing of IPCA cases. Stakeholders included the Deputy Minister of Justice, President of the Sofia City Court, and the Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents. The priorities of the meeting were highlighting enforcement challenges in Convention cases, discussing current IPCA cases, and proposing opportunities for continued engagement.
- In May 2023, the Office of the Spokesperson released a media note to announce the release of the 2023 Annual Report on International Child Abduction and listed Bulgaria as a country cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance. In May 2023, the Senior Consular Representative at the U.S. Mission to the European Union informed the EU of Bulgaria's citation.
- In May 2023, Consular staff at U.S. Embassy Sofia delivered a demarche to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs notifying Bulgaria that the Department cited Bulgaria in the 2023 Annual Report on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance during 2022.
- In June 2023, Department officials DC discussed international parental child abduction at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Jeremy D. Morley has provided expert evidence to courts in several U.S. states on such matters concerning Bulgaria.