The Minister of Defence Dr Velizar Shalamanov is scheduled to attend the Informal Meeting of the European Union Ministers of Defence, which will be held on 9 and 10 September 2014 in Milan in the context of the six-month Italian Presidency of the EU Council.
The main topics to be discussed by the two-day forum will be covered in four working sessions: the crises in Ukraine, Syria/Iraq, and Libya and the follow-up on the key areas identified by the European Council meeting on defence matters held in December 2013; the EU Battlegroups Concept; the Military Operations and the Capacity Building Missions of the EU; and issues on the agenda of the European Defence Agency.
The Informal Meeting of the European Union Ministers of Defence is part of the preparation of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting with the participation of the Defence Ministers, which will be held on 18 November 2014.
The traditional dinner given for the NATO Defence Ministers yesterday evening within the framework of the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Member States, held in Wales, United Kingdom, presented an opportunity for Defence Minister Dr Velizar Shalamanov to introduce his counterparts to the Bulgaria in NATO and in European Defence 2020 paper. According to the document, the key objectives for Bulgaria are to become even more tightly connected with the rest of the Allies and to speed up the modernisation of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. As regards the former, Minister Shalamanov announced the affiliation of two mechanised brigades with the NATO military commands in Thessaloniki, Greece and Szczecin, Poland. In addition to that, he made his counterparts familiar with the efforts Bulgaria needs now to put into the modernisation of the main military platforms: multirole fighter, warships, and armoured vehicles.
On the second day of the Summit Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov took part in a discussion with the partners of the Enhanced Opportunities Program. It envisages expansion of the cooperation with NATO’s closest partners – Australia, Georgia, Jordan, Finland and Sweden. During the meeting Minister Shalamanov announced Bulgaria’s intention to establish a new format of collaboration in the Black Sea region. Its aim will be to focus and better organise the efforts of NATO Member States and partners in the region for greater security, especially in the context of the current crisis. Minister Shalamanov hailed Georgia’s participation in multinational exercises and drills and acknowledged the country’s endeavours to achieve greater interoperability.
The Minister of Defence, Dr Velizar Shalamanov, and the Chief of Defence, Vice Admiral Rumen Nikolov, are taking part in the Summit of the Member States of NATO, which is being held in Wales, United Kingdom. The delegation of the Republic of Bulgaria is headed by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria, H.E. Rosen Plevneliev. The two-day meeting, which has commenced today and is the first of its kind since the Chicago Summit of 2012, brings together more than 60 heads of state and government to Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
Some of the main topics to be discussed at the forum are the Ukraine crisis, the developments in Afghanistan, and the challenges to NATO’s future. Today, Minister Velizar Shalamanov will attend the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at Defence Ministers’ level, during which the Alliance’s interoperability platform will be discussed. Later he will take part in a working dinner for the NATO Member States’ Defence Ministers. Tomorrow, September 5th, Minister Shalamanov will meet with his counterparts to discuss the Enhanced Opportunities Program of the Alliance. Representatives of several partner countries will also join the meeting, such as Australia, Finland, Sweden, Georgia and Jordan.
Brigadier General John Hort, Deputy Chief of Staff – Operations, USAREUR, visited Novo Selo Training Area (NSTA) on Sunday, 20th July. BG Hort was briefed on capabilities of NSTA and its sub-systems by COL Yavor Mateev, Chief of Joint Facilities Department at Bulgarian MoD, LTC Petar Jelev, NSTA Commander, and COL Ronald Bahr, USAREUR.
During the visit they discussed planning of future joint trainings and exercises, as well as increased joint utilization of NSTA by units from Bulgarian Armed Forces and US Army.
BG Hort also visited live fire trainings ongoing at NSTA as part of joint combined training "BLACK SEA ROTATIONAL FORCE 14 – PLATINUM LION" (BSRF-14) with participation of units from United States Marine Corps and armed forces of Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Romania, Serbia and United Kingdom.
Bulgarian Deputy Chief of Defense and Co-chairman of US-Bulgarian Joint Commission Major General Konstantin Popov welcomed Assistant Commandant of US Marine Corps General John Paxton at Novo Selo Training Area here on Thursday, 17th July.
During the meeting they discussed subjects of mutual interest and elements of the future defense cooperation between Bulgarian Armed Forces and US Marine Corps.
General Paxton and Major General Popov also visited the ongoing joint combined training "BLACK SEA ROTATIONAL FORCE 14 – PLATINUM LION" (BSRF-14) with participation of units from United States Marine Corps and armed forces of Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Romania, Serbia and United Kingdom.