Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on February 25 to enable the deployment of the country’s military to assist in securing its borders in peacetime, a move intended against illegal migration.
However, there has been some controversy about an earlier reported tatement by Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova that military personnel sent to the border would not carry weapons.
Some opposition MPs had misgivings about deploying what are meant to be the armed forces as what would be, instead, the unarmed forces.
The second reading of amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act, enabling the use of the military in tasks related to border security, was – however – approved unanimously by all 137 MPs present.
The Cabinet will assign the tasks to the military and decide how much money will be allocated for their participation.
Acting on recommendations by the Chief of Defence, the Minister of Defence will determine the rules for the use of force in carrying out these tasks, according to the amendments accepted by Parliament.
Reacting to Buchvarova’s reported statement that military assisting in border duties would not carry weapons, General Miho Mikov, a former military chief of staff and MP for the minority socialist breakaway party ABC, said that this was unacceptable and made the amendments meaningless because the army would not be used for its intended purpose as an armed force.
Mikov said that neither Buchvarova nor Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev were experts in the field and he called for clarification from the chief secretary of the Interior Ministry and the Chief of Defence.