Bulgaria plans to spend 4.4 billion levs ($2.64 billion/2.25 billion euro) on defence and security next year, figures from the 2018 draft budget proposed by the finance ministry showed on Monday.
The planned expenditure represents 4.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) projected for 2018, the ministry said in a statement.
"Budget draft 2018 provides funds for the maintenance and development of national defence capabilities and those related to collective defence, including funds for the implementation of the investment projects approved by the parliament for the acquisition of aviation equipment and multi-purpose modular patrol ships," the ministry said.
No breakdown figures were provided.
In 2019 and 2020, Bulgaria's spending on defence and security is projected to decrease to 3.8% and 3.5% of GDP, respectively, according to the updated medium-term budget forecast of the finance ministry.
According to the finance ministry plans, Bulgaria should spend 4.2 billion levs, or 4.5% of projected GDP, on defence and security in 2017.
GDP is projected to grow by 3.9% in 2018, according to the budget draft, which will be sent to the government and parliament for approval.
In June, the defence ministry said it plans to spend 3.54 billion levs on rearmament programmes between 2017 and 2029. The programmes envisage purchasing new combat aircraft for 1.5 billion levs, multi purpose modular patrol vessels for 820 million levs and military equipment for land forces for 1.22 billion levs.
In 2014, at the NATO summit in Wales, Bulgaria committed to a defence spending target of 2% of GDP, to be reached in the following 10 years.