Bulgaria Pledges to Boost Defence Spending
Bulgaria will increase defence spending in line with decisions of the recent NATO summit in Wales to address global challenges, President Rosen Plevneliev said on Friday.
“The crisis in Ukraine returned us to harsh reality,” Plevneliev said at a defence industry forum in Sofia attended by senior NATO officials and representatives of Bulgarian military plants and research institutes.
“The escalation of tensions caused by radical Islamist organizations in Syria and Iraq is a serious security threat and a source of a grave humanitarian catastrophe,” Plevneliev, who is also Commander-in-Chief of Bulgaria’s armed forces, told the forum.
Increasing spending on defence is mandatory for any NATO country with the exception of the small number of member states which already spend the planned 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Plevneliev said.
He added that under the programme “Bulgaria in NATO and EU Defence 2020” published last month the country should prioritise its military capabilities and related modernization projects and ensure full transparency, control, and close cooperation with the project management agencies of NATO and the EU.
The programme calls for Bulgaria to boost its defence spending to 1.5% of GDP next year and 2% of GDP by 2020 from 1.3% at present.
Plevneliev highlighted that Bulgaria will also aim for optimization of its participation in NATO's Smart Defence Initiative and Connected Forces Initiative, and the EU's Pooling and Sharing initiative, as well as for better use the US government’s 14 security support programmes.
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