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Mariya Gabriel: Innovation contributes to a strong national defence

06 February 2024 News

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel opened a high-level conference on ‘Growing Defence Industry Support Needs and Opportunities for Innovation’. The forum, organized jointly by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth and the Ministry of Economy and Industry, marks the beginning of the events celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria's accession to NATO.

Mariya Gabriel thanked the Minister for Defence Todor Tagarev and the Minister for Innovation Milena Stoycheva for the messages delivered during the conference and for outlining Bulgaria's role on the issue through concrete actions.

‘Innovation has an important role to play in ensuring the protection of citizens. Foreign policy risks are increasing, as is the risk of military conflict. The need for innovative defence solutions is also increasing. Europe has done a lot to strengthen the capacity of the defence industry, but there is a need for a comprehensive approach and consolidation of activities’, said Mariya Gabriel.

The Deputy Prime Minister underlined Bulgaria's commitment to contribute to the common efforts of EU and NATO partners and allies aimed at strengthening defence cooperation and the growth of the defence industry by exploiting the potential of innovation. Mariya Gabriel also highlighted the unprecedented progress made by the EU in defence industry cooperation through the development of the Regulation on supporting ammunition production (ASAP) and European defence industry reinforcement through common procurement act (EDIRPA).

A new European Defence Industry Strategy is also being developed to consolidate all security and defence activities within the EU.

Also discussed were disinformation and fake news, which is now generated by artificial intelligence, attacks in cyberspace, data theft and putting entire systems at risk of collapse due to malicious influences through technological tools.

‘We live in a world where processes are moving at high speed. Bulgaria can contribute a lot to strengthening the coordination between the different EU and NATO initiatives. Good practice and close cooperation between all communities involved should be encouraged and be a top priority. This is a very strong message that today's conference clearly sends. By sharing good practices, outlining strengths, providing solutions on how to turn weaknesses into strengths, we can together provide an adequate response to the challenges’, Mariya Gabriel highlighted.  

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