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garian President Exacts Submarines, Higher Defense Spending

Date: 30.06.2011

Bulgaria needs to spend more on defense, accourding to President Georgi Parvanov, who was in the Black Sea city of Varna Thursday, the seat of the Bulgarian Navy.

Parvanov attended the opening of the first Club of Reservist Officers in Varna, together with Defense Minister Anyu Angelov, with whom he has been in constant conflict, and Varna Mayor Kiril Yordankov.

Parvanov declared that higher military spending will help provide for better pensions for military veterans.

The President, whose second and last term expires in January 2012, stressed that Bulgaria needs to invest in its navy because the maintenance of the navy does not cost much but at the same time it could help Bulgaria be prepared for new international challenges in the Black Sea region.

He further emphasized that Bulgaria needs to have an underwater navy, after last year the Bulgarian Defense Ministry retired the last operational but vastly outdated submarine of the Bulgarian Navy.

"Any vacuum in the development of the submarine fleet will have serious repercussions with respect to the training of officers" - Parvanov declared, as cited by bTV.

Data from 2009 indicate that Bulgaria was one of the few EU member states spending over 2% of its GDP on defense; however, since then, the figure which amounted to about USD 1.1 B in 2009, has declined.

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