MPs Make First Step Towards Allowing Foreign Aircraft to Guard Bulgarian Airspace
The Bulgarian parliament approved at first reading on Thursday the amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act allowing for aircraft from NATO member countries to guard the country's airspace by participating in joint air policing missions.
The debates lasted for more than two hours, with ruling and opposition parties hurling mutual accusations at each other.
A total of 122 MPs voted in favour of the amendments, 41 MPs were against, while one MP abstained, daily Dnevnik informs.
Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev assured on Wednesday that under the new provisions the country's airspace will be guarded either solely by Bulgarian aircraft or by joint patrols.
The amendments foresee no option of surrendering Bulgarian airspace exclusively to foreign aircraft.
Bulgaria will choose which countries to invite for participation in joint air policing missions, with the negotiations to start once the amendments are adopted.
So far, Bulgaria has held informal consultations on joint air policing missions with Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland.
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