Topic related to NATO’s presence in Black Sea again subject to internal debates in Bulgaria

Tension occurred again this week between the ruling parties and the opposition in relation to the topic about military presence of NATO in the Black Sea.

Citing circulated by international agencies allegations that NATO was launching new multinational forces in the Black Sea the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party Kornelia Ninova called on Premier Boyko Borissov to inform the Bulgarian National Assembly “what necessitated a change in the cabinet’s position on this issue”. Kornelia Ninova was referring to the fact that one year ago Bulgaria’s Premier was against the establishment of a Black Sea military fleet. However, it turned out that no change has occurred in the cabinet’s position. Bulgaria’s Ministry of Defense said categorically that no plans about the establishment of multinational forces in the Black Sea were made. We are rather talking about the formation of a multinational brigade in Romania under NATO’s decision which was announced last year, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry further pointed out.

On October 27 Bulgaria will indeed participate with a frigate at the Sea Guardian exercise aimed at countering terrorism at sea and building maritime security capacity, but that country had long ago made that commitment and Bulgaria’s President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Bulgarian Armed Forces Rumen Radev was informed about that exercise. That is why Bulgaria’s Premier Borissov wondered why the socialist party demanded explanations from him in Parliament. The tension between the ruling parties and the opposition caused a public debate which included military experts.

In General Sabi Sabev’s view, the military imbalance in the Black Sea is highly beneficial for Russia and NATO should respond with greater military presence. In this context the military expert assumed that there will be more visits of NATO members at Bulgarian and Romanian military ports. In the end it turned out that this week we have witnessed another episode of the chronic disputes over the country’s commitments to NATO that erupt every now and then for domestic, rather than foreign policy goals.