NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia

site.btaUPDATED Chief of Defence Eftimov: Young People Want Challenging Environment

Chief of Defence Eftimov: Young People Want Challenging Environment
Chief of Defence Eftimov: Young People Want Challenging Environment
Chief of Defence Emil Eftimov (right) speaking at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia, May 25, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Bulgaria’s Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, said on Saturday that with joining NATO, young people want to have a challenging environment, modern technologies, and more opportunities for development. Eftimov, a spokesperson for the Defence and Security Committee, was speaking on the first day of the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which runs until May 27 in Sofia.

"This is what we are working towards, and I believe that the Bulgarian Armed Forces will be a worthy employer," he noted, highlighting the struggle for the military service to get young people to sign up.

Commenting on the Armed Forces’ budget, Eftimov said that the aim is to spend 60% on personnel, 20% on modernization, and 20% on maintenance.

On the pretext of conducting military exercises, Russia interfered in the economic zones in the Black Sea, including the Bulgarian one, the Chief of Defence said. "Russian warships have not violated our country's territorial waters, but there has been interference in the exclusive economic zone," Admiral Eftimov noted.

Russia has not established temporary warning areas in the Black Sea this year, he said and recalled that such area was established in the middle of 2023 in connection with the conduct of a military exercise and included parts of Bulgaria's exclusive economic zone. 

"Russian propaganda narratives spread easily in our country," he said, listing as reasons the similarity in the two countries' languages and their common history. "These narratives cast blame on others for the war in Ukraine," Eftimov went on, noting that Russia’s war against Ukraine is a deliberate attempt to establish superiority.

"We need to replace much of the Soviet weaponry to be able to provide protection," he said. "Work towards a strong defence industry is needed to respond to challenges. We need to strengthen defence production. This is a strategic challenge for Europe and Ukraine," he noted.

Bulgaria will continue to support the Ukrainian military, Eftimov said. "We have already provided military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and will pursue further opportunities to step up these efforts," he noted. In his words, Bulgaria is a reliable partner and NATO ally in the Eastern Flank, playing a key role in strengthening security and stability in the Black Sea.

During his address, the Chief of Defence recalled that Bulgaria marks 20 years in NATO and 75 years since the establishment of the Alliance.

/IV/

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By 18:31 on 14.06.2024 Today`s news

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