The President: NATO’s Future is not in a Union of Producers and Clients, but of PartnersPolitics | December 6, 2019, Friday // 17:00| views
I do not see NATO’s future as a union between producers and clients, but of partners, which together guarantee their security, develop high technologies and together produce military equipment. This is what President Rumen Radev said after the summit of the state and government leaders of the NATO member states in London. Within the forum the Bulgarian Head of State also held talks with US President Donald Trump and the heads of delegations of the countries that allocate more than 2 percent of their GDP per year on defense.
Rumen Radev emphasized that dividing lines are drawn in NATO between the countries that allocate more than 2 percent of their GDP on defense and those that are below 2 percent. However, a debate should be held on another distinction that is not put on the agenda at all – the countries are also divided into producers and clients.
“This year Bulgaria considerably exceeds the respective 2 percent, but this is not the case for next year and the year after next. We rank second in NATO after the US of countries with such a high expenditure on defense and more than 60 percent of these expenditures are allocated to modernization. You know why – the purchase of F-16 fighters with a 100-percent prepayment. Therefore I raised the issue of what a fair distribution of expenditures means,” the President said.
The Head of State emphasized that the NATO member states are also divided into producers and buyers, which places them in completely different positions. On the one hand, we have the strong economies, which produce military equipment to satisfy their own needs and for export and which upon modernization invest in their own development and do not exert pressure on their social systems. “However, when you are a country with a weaker economy, which is not so hi-tech and you do not produce weapons, 100 percent of the expenditures that you allocate to modernization go to other rich countries. This is really a burden for us because it affects our social systems,” Rumen Radev further said. The President added that this deprives the more poorly developed countries of the opportunity to invest in their own economies and deepens the technological and economic abyss between the member states.
In this respect the Bulgarian Head of State has put forward a proposal not only to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, but also to US President Donald Trump, for holding a debate on new forms of partnership in NATO which should promote industrial cooperation and the transfer of technologies to countries such as Bulgaria. Rumen Radev also put forward a proposal to the US President to more actively support and stimulate the countries that spend more than 2 percent on defense by offering industrial cooperation and the transfer of technologies. “I consider this a deserved stimulus given that our governments have decided to allocate these funds,” Rumen Radev added.
The President further said that some issues remain unresolved, yet NATO Secretary General has voiced his commitment to continue the strategic discussion and to seek timely solutions at a high political level, so that crises among the allies are avoided.