Lively debate gathered experts on the occasion of the anniversary of Bulgaria’s NATO membership

A big discussion on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Bulgaria’s NATO membership took place today in the new hall “James Bourchier”.

In the discussion, security and defense experts took part while organizers were the Institute “Ivan Hadjiyski” and “Gallup International”.

The floor was taken first by Elena Poptodorova who gave a rather negative answer to the question “Is Bulgaria ready for the new challenges facing security?” She emphasized that it is one of the few such discussions recently happening.

Prof. Stefan Hadzhitodorov from the Center for research of national security and defense got the audience acquainted with the European policies for security and defense. Yordan Bozhilov from the Sofia Security Forum paid particular attention to the problems of the public perceptions of NATO in Bulgaria.

Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Stoyanov and Prof. Yantzislav Yanakiev from the Institute for Defense “Prof. Tzvetan Lazarov” described in detail the Bulgarian contribution to the scientific research in the area of security. This contribution is less familiar among the public but highly evaluated by the partners.

One of the most notable speeches was given by Assoc. Prof. Andrey Raychev provoking discussion among the participants.

The executive director Parvan Simeonov presented sociological data on the issue. According to Simeonov, after the indications for problems in the confidence in NATO in 2016, in the latest two-three years confidence in NATO in Bulgaria was enhanced as well as the confidence in the West in general. As a whole, however, the European Union is regarded better than NATO. Values of confidence in the Alliance in the latest survey reached 38 per cent against 41 per cent non-confidence. These are close values and compared to the confidence in the Bulgarian institutions stand actually well. An evidence for the latter comes from the fact that the experimental question should Bulgaria leave NATO receives 45 per cent negative answers compared to 26 per cent positive ones.

Confidence in the Bulgarian army has been gradually enhanced as well. In the latest survey, 47 per cent do have confidence while 35 per cent do not. The rest are hesitant.

Among the young people, attitudes are synchronized. A third of the youngsters (aged 14-29) in Bulgaria have confidence in NATO. Attitude towards the army is similar. The European Union again remains the institution accumulating to the largest extent the confidence of the Bulgarian youth.

The data come from the recently published large-scale survey of the Bulgarian youth which was ordered by “Friedrich Ebert” Foundation, conducted by “Gallup International” and analyzed by the Institute of Sociology “Ivan Hadjiyski”. Find it HERE.

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