Bulgaria, Romania agree on third-country NATO air policing operations in their airspace

Bulgaria, Romania agree on third-country NATO air policing operations in their airspace

On Thursday, March 18, Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defense Atanas Zapryanov held an official meeting in Ruse with Deputy Minister of Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations at the Romanian Ministry of National Defense Simona Cojocaru. Brundusa Ioana Predescu, Special Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of Romania to Bulgaria, also attended the bilateral consultations.

Bilateral and regional issues in the field of security and defense and in the context of the two countries’ NATO and EU accession were discussed at the meeting. A protocol was also signed to amend the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of Romania on cross-border air policing operations. The Protocol was approved by a decision of the Council of Ministers on 16 December 2020, upgrading the basic 2011 agreement between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of Romania concerning cross-border airspace operations. Deputy Minister Zapryanov was authorized to conduct the negotiations and sign the protocol on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria.

“By signing today the Protocol amending the 2011 Agreement between our two governments on cross-border airspace operations, we are developing and upgrading not only our national capabilities, but also those of third countries to successfully carry out tasks for the protection of the Alliance’s airspace in the two countries,” said Atanas Zapryanov after the signing of the protocol. “With this act, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation in all its dimensions and aspects. I am convinced that with joint efforts we will be able to fulfill our allied commitments and our two countries will continue to contribute to the protection of Alliance airspace security.”

Following the signing of the Protocol and its ratification by the Bulgarian and Romanian parliaments, allied Member States will be allowed on the basis of the two countries’ territories, to conduct cross-border operations in the exercise of airspace protection (Air Policing).

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral defense co-operation, as well as in the context of their membership in NATO and the EU. /ibna