Bulgaria Gov't to Snub President on Defense Budget

Defense | March 23, 2015, Monday // 13:15|  views

Ivan Glavchev. Photo by BGNES

Commitments taken on by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev to gradually boost defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2015 will not be taken into consideration, a lawmaker from the ruling party has said.

As of 2015's budget, the government cannot afford to increase military spending by BGN 39 M despite calls by Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev, according to Deputy Parliament Speaker Ivan Glavchev, who is also Deputy Chair of Parliament's Budget Committee.

Glavchev has reiterated in an interview with daily Pressa that his party is "against budget updates in general."

He has voiced his confidence there is "no need" of amendments at all.

However, boosting defense expenditure could be put on the table during discussions for 2016's fiscal plan since, in his words, "the armed forces are an element of national security."

Last year during NATO's Wales summit of September, President Plevneliev vowed that Sofia would keep to the alliance's calls that all member states should increase the money they put aside for defense until the amount reaches 2% of gross domestic output in the next few years. But PM Boyko Borisov immediately rejected the move, well before taking over for a second term.

Plevneliev recalled this commitment in his address to Parliament last week following a series of political consultations traditionally held in the Presidency.

Though Glavchev has admitted Bulgaria has to fulfill the requirement, he has added there are not many NATO states that adhere to it strictly.

He believes overall lack of funding makes the issue "a matter of priorities", since the government is facing shortages in all sectors including education, research and healthcare.

In an interview for Standart newspaper last week, Defense Minister Nenchev also urged a budget overhaul, stating he doesn't think his ministry will be able to deliver on current payments throughout 2015.

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, Ivan Glavchev, GERB, defense, expenditure, budget, NATO, Wales, Plevneliev, Nikolay Nenchev


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