MEETING OF CCNS ON JANUARY 09 2018
The Consultative Council for National Security discussed the topic of the Republic of Bulgaria’s role and commitments related to the development of the Common EU Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) in the context of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The considerable progress in the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in the sphere of security and defense was highlighted, which has been evidenced by the creation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the launch of the first test cycle of the Coordinated Annual Review of Defense (CARD) and the creation of the European Defense Fund (EDF), as well as the creation of Military Planning and Conduct Capabilities (MPCC).
The Council members agreed on the stance that as an EU member state that took over the rotational Presidency of the Council of the EU, Bulgaria plays an important role and bears its responsibility in formulating and developing the Common European Security and Defense Policy, which further stimulates the integration processes in the EU.
The Presidency of the EU, in the context of CSDP, is also a responsibility Bulgaria has assumed and it opens up considerable opportunities to the Republic of Bulgaria – not only with respect to its leadership role in building a Common European Defense and consolidating the European defense industry and science, but also with respect to the full integration of the Republic of Bulgaria’s Armed Forces, industry and science in the respective European structures and initiatives. The rotational Presidency provides considerable opportunities for strengthening the security of the Western Balkans and ensuring their European prospects.
In this respect, the Consultative Council members agreed that having taken over the rotational presidency, Bulgaria must put forward clear proposals, which should:
- facilitate the preservation of the established dynamics upon implementing the priorities and goals in the sphere of security and defense planned in the EU Global Strategy;
- strengthen cooperation between the member states in the sphere of defense;
- facilitate the full integration of the member states’ armed forces in the process of building a Common European Defense;
- facilitate the full integration of the member states’ defense industry, science and the SMEs in the common European defense projects and funds.
The Republic of Bulgaria should create efficient mechanisms for analysis and prioritization of capabilities, projects and modules, with which the country will take part in PESCO. The participants in the Council agreed that it is necessary to take prompt measures to identify the spheres, scientific units and enterprises with which our country may take part in common European projects and use the services of EDF. Active communication with the respective European structures and the other EU member states is also necessary so that Bulgarian science and defense industry can be fully integrated in the initiatives of the Common EU Security and Defense Policy.
The Consultative Council members agreed that for Bulgaria to be efficient in the leadership of the processes of formulating the Common European Defense, the country should show that its defense policy planning is based on the European model – in a strategic and comprehensive manner. The adopted national plan for increasing defense spending so that it reaches 2 percent of the GDP by 2024 is a positive step that ensures the development of the Bulgarian defense capabilities in compliance with the commitments we have made to our allies. Given the dynamic changes of the security environment and the state of Bulgaria’s armed forces, the national plan should be duly revised and further developed to ensure that defense capabilities are increased.
A strategic and comprehensive program for development of the defense capabilities of the Republic of Bulgaria’s Armed Forces should be worked out, with a time horizon of at least10 years, and the program should include:
- post-2024 budget allocations, which should be in line with the necessary defense capabilities;
- the equipment, professional development, training, motivation and individual equipment of the staff;
- the processes of rearmament with new weaponry and maintenance equipment and its operation, accompanied by a program for industrial cooperation;
- the participation of the Bulgarian defense industry and science.
The prospects for the EU integration of the Western Balkans and strengthening the security in the region require that connectivity in terms of infrastructure and energy be ensured, cooperation in the spheres of defense and education be promoted, and scientific projects be implemented. Particularly efficient in this respect will be the establishment of an International Institute for Sustainable Technologies and a Scientific Center for Southeastern Europe supported by the EU and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which should stimulate the development of regional cooperation, education, science, medicine and the career development of the young people.
The Consultative Council emphasized that all institutions should adopt a responsible approach and ensure a consistent and efficient interdepartmental coordination, considering that these are the crucial factors for attaining the goals and implementing the priorities of Bulgaria’s Presidency and also for fulfilling the national commitments with respect to CSDP.
The members of the CCNS agreed to make the following proposals to the executive branch of power:
- As President of the Council of the EU, the Republic of Bulgaria should:
- work toward implementing the measures and initiatives that ensure achieving the ambitious goals set in the EU Global Strategy.
- finalize the talks on the Regulation for working out a European defense industrial development program by 30 June 2018.
- On the national level:
- develop a road map for drafting the Program 2030 for the development of the defense capabilities of the Republic of Bulgaria’s Armed Forces by 15 March 2018.
- develop an upgraded plan for participating in projects of PESCO and EDF, which generate promising capabilities, by 31 March 2018;
- produce a catalogue of the Bulgarian defense industry, scientific units and spheres in which the Republic of Bulgaria has the potential to participate in projects of PESCO, EDF and those related to the European Defense Agency;
- After the National Assembly adopts the national security strategy, the 2015 Strategy for research and technologies in the security and defense sector should be revised and brought in line with the National research development strategy in the Republic of Bulgaria 2017-2030;
- The National plan for increasing defense spending to 2 percent of the GDP until 2024 should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised by 30 September 2018.
- Regarding the European prospects and the security of the Western Balkan countries:
Should work out a road map containing all projects and initiatives in the security and defense sectors, which should promote the European prospects and strengthen the security in the Western Balkan countries. The latter should include:
- 1. Catalogue of the opportunities for education and training in Bulgaria in the security and defense sectors;
- 2. Proposals for conducting joint military exercises and trainings;
- In the context of the “Western Balkan” priority of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the suggestion should be made to establish an Institute for Sustainable Technologies and a Scientific Center for Southeastern Europe in Bulgaria.