Minister Tagarev Says Defence Budget 2024 to Reach 2% of GDP

The budget for defence in 2024 will increase in 2024 to reach 2% of GDP, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev told journalists in Varna Saturday. Taking into account the security situation in the Black Sea, the Navy will be given some priority, the Minister added.

A 10% hike of personnel salaries has been ensured for this year, the Minister said, but complex solutions will be sought to overcome the problem of staff shortages. The raise is also indicative of the understanding on the part of the Government and the National Assembly that the army has essential needs and the solution of the recruitment problem is important, Tagarev said.

Taking a question about the implementation of the F-16 Block 70 fighter jets project, Tagarev said that three are already “on the production line”, adding that he is planning a visit to the United States in the fall to see that.

The Minister called for stopping speculations that Bulgaria would send troops to Ukraine. People should not be alarmed, there are neither such intentions nor any discussions, Tagarev was adamant.

Tagarev was among the guests at the meeting and concert dedicated to the Bulgarian Navy Day. Other guests included Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov, the Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Kiril Mihaylov, navy personnel and members of the public. Sunday will see the raising of the flags of the Navy and the naval vessels, and young officers, graduates of the Naval Academy, will get their first officer’s shoulder boards.