Comment 26 Sep 17

Bulgaria Courts NATO’s Ire by Cutting Defence Spending

Strapped for cash and keen not to irritate Russia, Bulgaria not only shows no sign of increasing its defence budget in line with NATO demands but is heading in the other direction.

Eugene Kogan
BIRN
Tbilisi
Boyko Borissov, Bulgarian PM. Photo: European People's Party/Flickr

With its 2015 defence budget set at 664 million US dollars, about 1.16 per cent of its GDP – slightly increased to 769 million, or 1.31 per cent of GDP, in 2016 – Bulgaria is far from meeting the threshold that NATO has set for all member countries of the alliance to spend on defence, which is 2 per cent of their GDP.

However, instead of further increasing its military spending to meet the threshold, Bulgaria this year went in the opposite direction.

As 2017 comes to the end, it has become apparent that Bulgaria’s spending on defence this year will have fallen back to about 585 million dollars – less than in 2015.

Since Bulgaria’s overall 2017 budget is expected to be larger than it was in 2016, it means that in percentage terms, military spending will be even smaller.

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