(November 22nd, 2012, 10:30 a.m., Sheraton Hotel, Sofia)
The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, organized annual speech of President Rosen Plevneliev, regarding the celebration of the first anniversary of his inauguration. In his speech to the ACB on 22 November, 2012, entitled “Current issues and priorities in the national security of the Republic of Bulgaria”, Rosen Plevneliev expressed his view that in today’s turbulent and dynamic times and highly prominent global transformations ensuring security at global and national levels should be planned for a future period, much more than 20 years.
Mr.Plevneliev highlighted four key priorities that will be crucial for the future development and prosperity of Bulgaria – integration, technologies, resources and demography.
- Bulgaria is interested in sharing defense resources both within NATO and the European Union;
- Bulgaria will continue the development of a modern, flexible, mobile and technological army, participate in allied operations, and also contribute to the national security in peacetime;
- The National Security Strategy was adopted with almost full consensus;
- Since 8 March, 2011 a development process and a state policy in the field of defense and security have started;
- Many challenges before the Bulgarian army still remain: rearmament and modernization, restructuring the battle, supplying and maintaining forces, resource and logistical support of the Bulgarian Army units that are located anywhere in the world;
- A national priority is to integrate in the concept of NATO for smart defense and that of the EU for “Pooling and sharing capabilities.”
- The long-term development and security of the country will depend on innovation and development of high technologies and in particular the industries of the future – information and communication technologies, food production, biotechnology, and all industries related to human health;
- New industrial policies and building a system of technology parks and industrial zones will be crucial;
- Bulgaria has to position itself as a “regional hub” in the ‘Information and communications technology’;
- Data results for the year – 550 companies, 35 thousand jobs and grow by 16% a year;
- Bulgaria needs to work on the issues concerning the allied cyber security;
- One of the topics of the Advisory Council on National Security in 2013 will be the one for cyber security and Bulgaria’s capacity to develop this strategic direction;
- Strategic Project for Bulgaria is e-Government;
- The emphasis lays on reforming the water sector, energy efficiency, energy diversification and investing in the research activity and food production as well as the use of the Bulgarian arable land potential;
- Together with the World Bank we established 35-year master plans for managing every drop of water in Bulgaria;
- The planned investments in the sector of agricultural production by the end of 2020 are over 10 billion BGN;
- On 18 October this year in Budva, Montenegro, the Council of Ministers adopted its first energy strategy of the community, and here are its main points:
- Creating a specific, integrated, competitive and completely liberalized energy market in Europe;
- Attracting investment in the energy sector;
- Secure and sustainable energy supplies.
The latter are largely related to Bulgaria’s strategies in this sector – energy efficiency as a national priority, energy diversification and development of energy infrastructure.
- With the aid of the Cohesion and Structural Funds until 2020 at least 3 billion BGN will be invested in energy efficiency;
- In terms of energy supply, the exploration of the gas field at “Khan Asparuh” block in the Black Sea is essential;
- The Southern Gas Corridor and “Nabucco West” are priorities for Bulgaria in building a European energy infrastructure;
- As of 1 January, 2021 the demographic problem importance for Bulgaria will increase;
- We have to focus on: innovative policies to encourage fertility, quality of life and initiatives for the return of our compatriots abroad;
In terms of security:
The Security Council with the Council of Ministers is already functioning on the basis of regulation, organizing the interaction and coordinating the cooperation and the activities in the national security system.
During the last Advisory Council on National Security a consensus was reached to define the perspective of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), National Guard Service (NGS) and “Military Information”.
It is planned that by April 2013, based on that same consensus, the four laws package – NIS, NGS, to “Military Information” and The General Development Law will be adopted in the parliament.
Major accents remain: asymmetric risks and security threats – international terrorism, smuggling, trafficking, corruption, organized and conventional crime.
“The transformations in the building and development of the national security system ultimately depend on the effective functioning of the Bulgarian economy and the economic potential of the country.”
“I am proud that Bulgaria is a NATO member, I’m proud that Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. This is the highest achievement of the country in the last 20 years “.