“Bulgaria is an active member of NATO and therefore should not be ruled by decisions of others,” Defense Minister Stefan Janev told the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) in his first interview since taking office. He urged Bulgarian politicians to be proactive in defending the national interest in line with NATO’s interest.
Janev commented on a statement he made in a Facebook post on December 21, when he noted that the deployment of additional NATO troops in Bulgaria would be unjustified, because at this stage there is no reason for Russia’s actions to be considered an immediate threat to the alliance. Prime Minister Kirill Petkov said that Janev’s statement did not reflect the official position of the government.
In an interview with BTA, Janev explained that what he wrote on Facebook was his personal opinion as Minister of Defense. “This is not the national position yet,” he said. “What I meant was that our national position must be supported by sound logic, taking into account the national interest, and of course, it must be in line with the common interests of NATO’s collective security.”
Read also: Bulgaria – New Prime Minister changes course towards Northern Macedonia
He noted that Bulgaria needs to develop its own capabilities. This is in fact a commitment made by the country as a member of NATO, he added. “If we do not develop our own capabilities, we will not be able to defend our national interest and do what we are called to do: to guarantee the security of Bulgarian citizens.”
According to the Minister of Defense, the fate of the ground forces upgrade program, which includes the acquisition of armored combat vehicles, should be decided as soon as possible.
“Our goal is to start the program as soon as possible, in the best possible way both from the legal point of view and from the point of view of Bulgaria ‘s financial interest, which means that Bulgarian companies will have to share at least part of the production process, if they do not fully, and contribute to future maintenance ”.
Read also: Bulgaria – ‘No’ to deployment of NATO forces on its territory
Read also: Mitsotakis – Turkey to stop provocative actions and the unthinkable casus belli
Asked to summarize his performance as prime minister in two successive caretaker governments in 2021, Janev said there were many difficult times because the government had to deal with several parallel crises in addition to holding early parliamentary elections.
“It was not easy at all, but in the end we faced a lot of challenges working as a team, which I think was the main challenge, considering that both caretaker governments included people with different backgrounds, different experiences, worldviews and political beliefs. Finally, we have shown that this country can be governed in a transparent way that is easy to explain to the people. The legacy of the two caretaker governments is that they have prepared society and the state administration for the necessary reforms, Janev said.