Bulgaria Defence & Security Report Q2 2014
BMI believes that Bulgarian defence spending will reduce to US$796mn in 2014. Nevertheless, this could be the last such decrease prior to a period of rising defence spending. Our assessment sees Bulgaria increasing its defence budget to US$810mn in 2015, and the performing a further increase to US$834mn in 2016. The final two years of the forecast period will see Bulgaria spending US$886mn in 2017, with a further increase to US$943mn in 2018; its highest level during the period under examination (2010-18).
BMI has no figures regarding the size of Bulgarian defence imports and exports. However, for its size, the country maintains a significant arms industry. Whereas its former Warsaw Pact counterparts such as Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland maintained competencies in the fields of military aerospace and armoured vehicles, Bulgaria has developed an expertise in the field of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Bulgaria is expected to maintain its competencies in the fields of SALW for the foreseeable future, providing a cost effective source of military-grade firearms for armies, paramilitary and law enforcement organisations around the world.
The country is dealing with large numbers of Syrian migrants with reportedly 10,000 refugees arriving in Bulgaria in 2013. The response of the government has been to approach the European Union, and international non-governmental organisations to seek financial and materiel support to ensure that these refugees have the facilities that they need when they arrive. Meanwhile, the government is moving forward with controversial plans to construct a fence on its eastern border with Turkey to dissuade additional refugees entering Bulgaria using this route. Furthermore in late 2013, the country witnessed widespread student protests directed against the ruling Socialist-led government, which has been accused as being corrupt with protestors directing their anger against perceived links between politicians and business figures.