Bulgarian Delegates to NATO Stranded over Delayed Allowances
Almost 70 Bulgarians working at the country’s delegation to NATO in Brussels, and at the military headquarters in Mons, Belgian, are in a dire situation.
They have not received their travel allowances in two months as a result of cuts in the budget of Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry, the Bulgarian Trud Daily reported Tuesday.
The paper claims to have copies from letters from Directorates at the Defense Ministry in Sofia to the heads of the Bulgarian military missions in Belgium saying the funds for supporting Bulgarian military staff at international organizations had been reduced by 41,2%, and urging them to reduce the expenditures and staff of their delegations.
The head of the Human Resource Directorate at the Defense Ministry, Ivan Ivanov, has called for paid home leaves for the delegations’ employees saying the travel allowances for October and November had been delayed.
Bulgaria’s military representative at NATO, General Atanas Zapryanov, is quoted as saying the money for salaries and rent of the Bulgarian employees had been provided on time, and that the Ministry of Defense had promised to pay the delayed travel allowances by December 10, 2009.
The problem, however, is that, because of the low base salaries, the Bulgarian military staff in Belgium rely mostly on the travel allowances for their living expenses which are at least EUR 800 per month, the Trud Daily says.
Anonymous Bulgarian officials are quoted as saying they are already in debt, borrowing heavily from friends and delaying installments on purchases such as cars.
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