The Bulgarian caretaker Cabinet’s security council on September 1 adopted a revised version of the “Vision 2020” document that earlier stirred controversy over its references to Russia, with those seen as implying Russia to be a threat to national security now reportedly softened.
A government statement said that the revised document had been adopted unanimously by the security council and reflected the views of all relevant institutions. The document would be published for public comment in coming days.
The original controversy arose after an earlier draft was posted on the Bulgarian Defence Ministry website. That draft was removed on the orders of caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki.
An official statement on September 1 said that the “Vision 2020” document provided an updated assessment of the external security environment, the benefits from investments in defence, the path to higher spending on defence in line with discussions in Nato. The working document also sets out the basic capacity needed for the modern defence of Bulgaria.
On the basis of this vision and the decisions of the Nato Wales Summit on September 4 and 5, the Cabinet will adopt a national programme in connection with Bulgaria in Nato and European defence to 2020, the government statement said.
This national programme will be tabled in the 43rd National Assembly after it is elected on October 5.
Separately, media reports said that the revised draft had been the subject of late-night editing on the eve of the September 1 meeting, with the texts indicating Russia to be a threat mitigated but with the retaining of the meaning of the changed security environment after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The reference to Russia’s “hybrid war” has been retained, as has the commitment to raise spending on defence as a percentage of GDP to 1.5 per cent in 2015.
(Photo: Satellite imagery released by Nato on August 28 that the military alliance says shows Russian troops in Ukraine)