Mayor of Bulgarian Town Launches Referendum Amid Plans for NATO Troop Expansion

Defense | February 16, 2024, Friday // 14:29|  views

In a move that underscores the complexities of Bulgaria's evolving defense strategy, Yambol Mayor Valentin Revanski has announced plans to hold a local referendum regarding the proposed expansion of the Kabile barracks area to accommodate 2,000 NATO troops.

The decision comes following a meeting between Revanski and Bulgaria’s Chief of Defense Admiral Emil Eftimov, where discussions centered on the Ministry of Defense's plans to enlarge the Kabile barracks area. Eftimov clarified that while the expansion aims to bolster Bulgaria's defense capabilities, it will remain solely Bulgarian territory, distinct from joint Bulgarian-American bases like the one in Novo Selo.

Eftimov emphasized the strategic significance of the Kabile location, citing its proximity to vital infrastructure such as airports, ports, and training grounds. The planned upgrades include repairs to existing structures, new installations for utilities, and enhancements to transportation infrastructure, with funding sourced from both the state budget and NATO allocations.

The Chief of Defense also highlighted the economic benefits of hosting allied formations, noting potential opportunities for local businesses in construction and services. However, Revanski raised concerns about the barracks' proximity to urbanized areas, stressing the importance of citizen welfare.

Recognizing the need to engage the local community, Revanski pledged to uphold his commitment to democratic principles by initiating a poll or local referendum. He underscored the importance of soliciting residents' opinions on significant issues, such as the establishment of migrant centers and NATO bases.

Revanski's proactive approach reflects a broader commitment to democratic governance, with his administration prioritizing citizen engagement and accountability. The decision to conduct an explanatory campaign underscores efforts to ensure that residents are well-informed before making a decision on the barracks expansion.

As discussions between local authorities and the Ministry of Defense continue, the referendum will provide residents with a platform to voice their opinions and shape the future of Yambol's defense infrastructure.

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Tags: Yambol, NATO, Referendum, barracks


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