This year, Bulgarian companies can apply for EUR 1.2 billion from the European Defence Fund. This became clear during an information event dedicated to the Fund, which was opened by the Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stojanov. Of this money, EUR 72 million is earmarked for projects by small and medium-sized enterprises, while another EUR 41 million will fund developments for ‘revolutionary technologies’.
‘Over a period of four years, Bulgarian companies, in consortia with foreign partners, have won 11 projects for products and technologies in the field of defence worth nearly BGN 130 million,’ Minister Nikola Stojanov said. He added that our country ranks 14th out of 26 countries in terms of the number of organisations receiving funding from the Fund. ‘This is a clear sign that our companies and research and development organisations are innovative, high-tech and competitive at European level, and they should make the most of the opportunities provided by European programmes and initiatives,’ the Minister of Economy further commented.
In his words, at the level of the European Union there are a number of instruments aimed at building a more competitive defence industry and a more open European market. ‘We are at a historic moment for our defence industry. We have all the prerequisites and opportunities to make the much needed transition to produce more NATO-standard products and for technological renewal in this sector, but more activity from companies and research institutes is needed,’ Minister Stojanov stressed.
Also discussed at the event was the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), which is expected to be adopted in the summer of this year and will be in place until mid-2025. ‘This instrument is a serious opportunity to develop new capacities in the sector as well as to increase or restructure existing production lines,’ Nikola Stojanov explained.
The European Defence Fund has a budget of almost EUR 8 billion for the period 2021—2027, of which EUR 2.7 billion is earmarked for research and EUR 5.3 billion for the development of defence products and technologies. Its budget for 2023 alone is EUR 1.2 billion. This year’s calls for proposals will open for applications on 15 June 2023. The deadline for submission of proposals is 22 November 2023.
Today’s event was attended by Krustyo Preslavski, representative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Defence Industry and Space, Irina Shtonova, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Stanislava Yalamova, Head of the Political Cabinet of the Minister of Economy and Industry, representatives of the state sector, business, the research sector and academic organizations.