NATO 'Mulls Monitoring Mechanism for Bulgaria'
An unprecedented mechanism to oversee the way Bulgaria is spending funds on its army's modernization, NATO sources claim, quoted by a daily newspaper.
The alliance is now considering to make sure that Sofia will reach interoperability of the armed forces with those of other NATO members, Sega quotes the sources as saying.
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov has reportedly confirmed the information, adding the mechanism could be implemented either on a six months' or a yearly basis.
He has also hinted the cabinet might introduce changes in the projected increase in defense expenditures, which are currently at 1.3% of gross domestic output and should be boosted by 0.2 percent next year, in line with commitments to NATO made by President Rosen Plevneliev.
Bulgaria could thus start increasing the military spending in 2016 to reach the goal of 2% in 2014, and not in 2020 as initially planned.
NATO has long insisted Bulgaria should modernize its army and boost capabilities, a process which includes acquiring new fighter jets.
At the same time the government has put off the purchase for 2017 at the earliest, refusing to give the thumbs up on a BGN 800 M loan to be used for the new aircraft.
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