A five-hour meeting of Bulgaria’s Consultative Council on National Security on November 10 resulted in requests to the Cabinet for various steps, including a plan on countering a large refugee and a system to neutralise cyber attacks.
Convened by head of state President Rossen Plevneliev, those attending the council meeting included the Prime Minister, foreign and defence ministers, heads of armed forces and security and intelligence services, and representatives of parliamentary groups.
Called to discuss changes in the geopolitical environment, the council meeting concluded that the Cabinet should propose measures to optimise the security sector and should prepare a new draft law on countering terrorism.
The call for a strategy on cyber security came against a background of cyber-attacks on the websites of various state institutions, including the President, State Agency for National Security, Interior Ministry, National Revenue Agency and Central Election Commission during the October-November 2015 mayoral and municipal elections and national referendum on the introduction of online voting.
At a media briefing after the meeting, Plevneliev – flanked by security force and political leaders – told reporters that the meeting held that the most serious risk to the country was the migration flow.
“At this stage most immediate risk for our country is the risk of continuation or increase in migration flows to and through Bulgaria. The situation would deteriorate as a result of the continuing inability of the EU to effectively protect the external borders, to develop common rules for the fair resolution of the migration issue and help permanently solve the root causes of migration crisis.”
The meeting also agreed that the risk of terrorist attacks in Europe was high, which led to the request for the preparation of legislation to counter terrorism. Plevneliev said that the meeting agreed that the danger of terrorist acts in Europe was growing and that large numbers of European citizens were taking part in hostilities on the side of the “Islamic State” and other terrorist groups. Such people brought their experience and radical ideas to their home countries, and this further increased the threat of terrorism.
Plevneliev said that the meeting also noted the continuing crisis in Ukraine, and he added that the existence of conflicts close to Bulgaria’s borders caused additional stress.
On energy security, he noted that Bulgaria depended on a dominant gas supplier and said that Bulgaria should continue its efforts to maintain its position regarding the transit of energy resources.