The press release issued by 10 Downing Street on 23 January 2024.
The Prime Minister welcomed the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, to Downing Street this morning.
He welcomed the close partnership and friendship between our countries, demonstrated by our ambitious new cooperation on illegal migration and law enforcement.
The leaders agreed on the vital importance of ending the cruel and dangerous people-smuggling trade, including in container trucks and small boats.
The Prime Minister welcomed the groundbreaking new UK-Belgium Law Enforcement Cooperation Agreement, which is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks. The first-of-its-kind Agreement will enhance intelligence sharing and surveillance capabilities and will see UK law enforcement officials forward-deployed to Belgium to tackle shared threats, including in counter-people smuggling operations.
The leaders also discussed the value of partnerships with third countries, both to find solutions to illegal migration and to address the poverty and instability that pushes people into the arms of people smugglers.
The Prime Minister updated on his recent visit to Ukraine, highlighting the recent successes of the Ukrainian armed forces and importance of continued military and financial assistance. They agreed to continue joint action on sanctions and asset seizures to deprive the Russian war machine of resources and ensure Ukraine can be rebuilt.
Turning to the situation in the Red Sea and the strikes conducted by the UK and US overnight, the leaders agreed it was critical to take strong action to defend freedom of navigation and counter Iran’s malign activity in the region.
The leaders also discussed wider issues, including opportunities for greater cooperation on energy security. They noted the need to further develop renewable grid interconnection between the UK and the European mainland to meet our respective 2030 net zero ambitions.