Bulgaria Spends 1.87% of GDP on Defense, NATO Report Reveals

Bulgaria's defense expenditure for the year 2023 amounted to $1.9 billion (3.47 billion BGN), representing 1.87 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as detailed in the annual report released by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. This disclosure occurred during a press conference held at NATO headquarters in Brussels earlier today.

The report encompassed data from 31 member countries, excluding Sweden, which recently joined the alliance. Among these nations, Bulgaria ranked 13th in terms of defense spending relative to GDP. Notably, Poland topped the list with 3.92%, surpassing even the United States (3.24%).

Several other NATO member states, including Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Great Britain, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark, and France, allocated a higher percentage of their GDP to defense compared to Bulgaria. Conversely, countries such as Luxembourg (1.01%), Belgium (1.21%), and Spain (1.24%) ranked at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP.

Since 2014, following Russia's annexation of Crimea, NATO has set a target for all member countries to allocate at least 2 percent of their GDP annually to defense. However, despite this target, only 84 percent of respondents in Bulgaria believe that the country should either maintain or increase its defense spending, according to the report. Meanwhile, 56 percent of Bulgarians support the country's continued membership in NATO.

Stoltenberg highlighted NATO's continued efforts to bolster defense capabilities, noting an 11 percent increase in defense spending among member states for the year 2023. This year, European allies are projected to invest a total of $470 billion in defense, equivalent to 2 percent of their combined...

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