UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)



Bulgarian mountains

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 2007. A brief overview of the country’s political system, trade and economy and Bulgaria as an EU member state can be viewed on the official website of the European Union. According to the Office for National Statistics data, there were 103.000 Bulgarians living in the UK in 2018. The Bulgarian migration to the UK is mainly of an economic nature, but so is the UK migration to Bulgaria. The number of British citizens who have permanently moved to Bulgaria was estimated at nearly 18.000 by the BBC in 2014 (see: The Britons who swap the UK for the poorest part of the EU and Online Blogs by British expats living and working in Bulgaria). 

Foreign relations between Bulgaria and the United Kingdom were formally established in 1879 upon Bulgaria's newly gained independence from the Ottoman Empire (Embassy of the Republic of Bulguria, London: Bilateral relations) . Political developments in Bulgaria in the early twentieth century and up until World War II culminated with Communist takeover and Soviet domination. A notable dissident from Bulgaria to the UK was  Georgi Markov, a novelist and playwright who moved to London after his work was banned by the Communist regime. He worked as a journalist and a broadcaster for the BBC World Service until 1978. SSEES Library holds a rich collection of his literary work. He is most notably remembered for the Death by Umbrella event, when he was assassinated on a London street via a micro-engineered pellet containing the deadly toxin, fired into his leg from an umbrella, allegedly by a member of the Bulgarian Secret Service. A notable emigre was Petar Ouvaliev aka Pierre Rouve (1915-1998) who worked for the BBC World Service and as a film director. His biography, written by his wife Sonia Ruv, is available at the UCL, SSEES LIbrary (Rouve, S. Petŭr Uvaliev ili Pier Ruv: edin zhivot).



UK migration statistics and datasets

Bulgarian migration statistics

Academic research, publications and projects

Doctoral theses

Book chapters

Journal articles

Academic projects

  • The character of Lexi Victorova in BBC Radio 4 production The Archers.  
Media outlets and internet portals

Newspapers & magazines

Internet portals


Bulgarian organisations in the UK