Bulgaria's BSP, GERB Fail to Agree on New Fighters Issue
Politicians from ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and opposition GERB MPs led a day-long discussion over whether Bulgaria should acquire new fighter jets.
Boyko Borisov, who heads the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), underscored that new fighters would carry additional costs and would require between BGN 600 and 700 M (EUR 300-350 M).
Defense Minister Angel Naydenov was quoted by public broadcaster BNR as saying in response that an earlier report at the Council of Ministers had suggested that either an investment into modernization of current capacities (valued at BGN 400 M) or purchase of a new type of multi-purpose fighter is to be chosen as an option.
In a statement last week, Naydenov said if the government opts for new jets, that would cost up to BGN 500 M.
On Thursday he spoke in favour of the latter option, as the acquisition of a new type of fighter would boost Bulgarian capacities for at least two decades and, possibly, as much as 40 years.
Valentin Radev, who was Deputy Defense Minister in GERB's 2009-2013 government, voiced his party's hopes that no contracts would be signed before the government resigned, which, in his words, "is likely to happen".
This dialogue, which continued after a short debate in Parliament, comes amid political uncertainty over the future of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's BSP-led cabinet.
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