Bulgaria Marks 20th Anniversary of Applying for NATO Membership

The 20th anniversary of the submission of Bulgaria’s application for NATO membership was marked by a seminar and a discussion entitled “20 Years of NATO Contribution to the Regional Security of Southeast Europe and the Black Sea Region”. The forum was organized by the George C. Marshall – Bulgaria Association together with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, the Defence Ministry and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation under the auspices of President Peter Stoyanov (in office 1997-2002).

An address on behalf of incumbent President Rumen Radev was read before the participants. “In the modern global world, no country can develop independently any longer. This fully applies to our armed forces,” reads the address. The servicemen were the first and so far the largest group of informal ambassadors for our real approximation with the ally countries,” the President also says. “Our country enjoys a relative stability in a region of stormy processes, which can threaten the national security. I voice conviction that our NATO membership will be of invaluable use for maintaining and strengthening that stability and that this trend should continue in the future.”

Participating in the discussion were caretaker Deputy Defence Minister Lyubomir Peev, NATO representative Robert Pshchel, US Defence Attache James Crowhurst and Thorsten Geisler, Head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Bulgaria.

At a meeting of the NATO defence ministers in Brussels on February 13, 1997, the then President Peter Stoyanov stated for the first time Bulgaria wish to join NATO. The country submitted a formal membership application on February 17 the same year and became a full member of the Alliance on March 29, 2004.