Bulgarian Defense Minister: We would have Spent more on Defense if we were Not in NATO
“If we had explained to people that we are currently trying to spend 2% of GDP (for defense), but if we were not in NATO, now we would be spending between 7-8%, everyone would have understood us”.
This was stated by the Minister of Defense Stefan Yanev during the blitz control in the parliamentary committee on defense. He added that choice of Bulgaria to be a member of NATO allows us to spend less on our own defense because we share responsibilities with other countries with which we share common values.
Yanev called on lawmakers to ease tensions and stop speculation.
“Let's be Bulgarophiles and think about the Bulgarian national interest. The choice for Bulgaria to be part of NATO is that we actually allow ourselves to spend less on our own defense. This is our choice and I do not want to put adjectives,” he said. Stefan Yanev.
“There is no gathering or deployment of NATO troops or of any other country in Bulgaria. There is no decision of the Bulgarian government for this type of movement, gathering or deployment of NATO troops on Bulgarian territory”, said Yanev
According to him, neither Russia nor any other country is planning to invade Bulgaria and we do not expect an invasion of Bulgarian territory.
“We are talking about a type of measure that is to demonstrate the unity of NATO and to seek and give diplomacy a chance,” Yanev explained.
He explained that the government has not yet decided on the deployment of ground forces, but preparations are underway. The public will be informed when it is ready.
In the course of the discussion, he gave an example that the Bulgarian army is also a NATO army and such forces can be entirely under Bulgarian command.
Minister Yanev explained that NATO meetings in Poland and Wales were about tensions between Russia and Ukraine, but current Air Policing operations have become routine over the years.
The purchase of 8 new fighters is at stake, but the price is yet to be determined. For more than a year, 8 young Bulgarian pilots have been training to fly F-16s in the United States.
The composition of the Bulgarian army is still being completed, and the reason for this is the lack of funds. Over the years, the Ministry of Defense has hired only as many servicemen as the Ministry of Finance has allowed through the state budget.
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