Analysis 07 Jun 17

Bulgaria Strives to Rebuild Its Weak, Underfunded Defence

Under pressure from NATO, Bulgaria’s leaders have agreed to restore the country’s defence capacities as fast as possible, but their plans – and how to fund them – have yet to be worked out. 

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Bulgarian paratrooper.

Amid growing pressure on NATO countries to boost their defence spending, Bulgaria is expected to come up with concrete steps by the end of June to speed up the modernisation of its army, address its shortage of military personnel and maintain its old armaments.

Bulgarian leaders attending a Consultative Council for National Security, called by President Rumen Radev on May 30, also agreed that by the end of the year, the country should establish a plan for how to meet the NATO requirement to spend at least two per cent of GDP on defence by 2024, as well as coming up with a new national security strategy.

Defence experts welcomed the commitment of the president, government and main political parties to restoring the country’s defence capacities, which have gradually weakened over the years.

Yet experts also warned that key political actors not only have divergent if not conflicting views on this issue, but they also have little clue how this rebuilding of Bulgaria's defences will be funded.

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