site.btaChief of Defence Eftimov: Defence Budget of 2% of Bulgaria's GDP Is Not Panacea but Critical Minimum
A defence budget of 2% of Bulgaria's GDP is not a panacea but a critical minimum; the Bulgarian Army's significant needs require a budget of over 2%, the Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, told reporters here on Friday. He was taking questions after the solemn marking of the 145th anniversary of the Bulgarian Army's signal corps, the Defence Ministry reported.
Admiral Eftimov believes that the investment programme the Defence Ministry will propose to the Government and Parliament by November will be adopted. "The Council of Ministers and the National Assembly treat very responsibly the increase of the Bulgarian Army's capabilities and its modernization. We are in constant contact with the Presidency about everything that concerns the Army," he said.
The Chief of Defence explained that the investment programme includes two scenarios for the defence budget: 2% and 2.5% of GDP, taking into view the Finance Ministry's forecast. "We analyse the possible development of the situation, the war in Ukraine and the state of security in the region. We must report honestly and responsibly to the state leadership that this is necessary for the Army to implement its constitutional obligations," he underscored.
If the budget is 2% of GDP, the planned resources until 2032 can ensure a good composition of forces and resources for comprehensive modernization, but a problem arises with their prioritizing when distributing them by year. "If several projects are launched at the same time, for a certain period it will be impossible to start others. It is the most reasonable to exceed 2% of GDP in 2024 and 2025 and to launch several projects. That way, we will give faith, optimism, and motivation to service persons," Admiral Eftimov argued.
Every programme envisages an increase of the staff's remunerations. "Now the service persons too received a pay raise, but it was not equal everywhere: the increase was the highest where the shortage of staff is the biggest," the Chief of Defence said.