site.btaParliament Adopts 2022 Report on State of Defence and Armed Forces
Parliament Friday adopted the 2022 Report on the State of Bulgaria's Defence and Armed Forces submitted by the Council of Ministers in mid-April. It covers the results achieved in defence policy in 2022 and is part of the democratic and civilian control over the Bulgarian Armed Forces, the resolution says.
The Defence Ministry's efforts were focused on: fulfilling the missions and tasks of the Armed Forces; building and maintaining the required defence capabilities and dealing with shortfalls; fulfilling NATO Capability Targets; rearmament and modernization; building NATO's Forward Presence in the region; filling vacant posts in the Armed Forces; and manning and training the voluntary reserve.
The fundamental changes in the security environment due to Russia's war against Ukraine places increased demands on the defence capabilities of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and calls for accelerated rearmament and modernization. The establishment of NATO's Forward Presence in the Black Sea is important for the country's security and defence. The establishment of the NATO's Multinational Battle Group with Italy as the framework nation, with a potential for further growth if necessary, together with the establishment of the Maritime Coordination Centre in Varna as an Alliance structure, is important for the protection of the national interests and manifests the country's consistent policy as a responsible and effective Ally, the resolution says.
Financial constraints, undermanning, low flying hours and days at sea, obsolete weapons and equipment continue to negatively impact mission and task accomplishment, training, interoperability and the achievement of NATO Capability Targets. The growing technological backwardness of the Armed Forces affects negatively their operational effectiveness in the context of collective defence, according to the resolution.
The report also presents the main projects for the rearmament and modernization of the Armed Forces, whose implementation creates the basic prerequisites for overcoming the shortfall of critically needed capabilities. A draft Programme for Priority Investment Expenditures of the Defence Ministry was prepared, which included 13 projects for rearmament of the Bulgarian Army. The programme was approved by the Council of Ministers and submitted to Parliament in November 2022, but it was not discussed by the Defence Committee and put to the vote.
"The report is truthful. The problem is that we do not like what it says. The Vazrazhdane group wonders whether to support it or to abstain, or go to church and pray to God to protect the Bulgarian state and the people because the Bulgarian Army could only do that together with some imaginary Allied forces," Vazrazhdane MP Nikolay Drenchev said during the debate.
Hristo Gadzhev of GERB-UDF urged the MPs to work towards solving most of the Armed Forces' problems.