By 2024, NATO expects defense spending in the alliance (excluding the US) to increase nearly tenfold over 2018 spending. This is shown by the data pr
NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.
NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.
  • 2019-12-03 17:05:07 10 days ago
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By 2024, NATO expects defense spending in the alliance (excluding the US) to increase nearly tenfold over 2018 spending. This is shown by the data provided by NATO today.

While the Allies (excluding the United States) spent $ 43 billion last year on defense, after five years, the cost is expected to reach $ 400 billion. The latest figures for 2019 indicate a 4.6% year-over-year increase in military spending.

Secretary-General of the Pact Jens Stoltenberg said today that NATO remains the place where Europe and North America talk daily. According to him, there are sometimes differences in the alliance, but the strength of the organization is that it always overcomes them and manages to provide mutual protection.

Stoltenberg announced that the leaders of the Pact countries will discuss issues with Russia, China, Afghanistan and the security of telecommunications networks at their meeting in London next week. We do not see a direct threat from Russia to any NATO country, but Moscow is putting forces into new combat capabilities, including nuclear ones, while terminating the treaty for the removal of small and medium-range missiles, the Secretary General noted. In his words, the alliance must be able to respond to threats from any direction.

We're increasing military spending, not to the liking of US President Donald Trump, but because of the changing security situation. The view that the US is moving away from NATO is wrong, Stoltenberg said.

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NATO Expects a Tenfold Increase in Defense Spending by 2024 Compared to 2018.

(DF) Parliament Passes Conclusively 2020 National Health Insurance Fund Budget Act

(DF) Parliament Passes Conclusively 2020 National Health Insurance Fund Budget Act

Sofia, December 3 (BTA) - At an extraordinary plenary sitting on Tuesday, Bulgaria's Parliament passed conclusively the 2020 National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Act. GERB and the United Patriots voted in favour, and BSP for Bulgaria and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) voted against.

At 4,640,733,700 leva, the health insurance revenues are nearly 400 million leva more than in 2019. Of these, 3,107,134,200 leva will come from health insurance contributions (264,880,000 leva more than in 2019) and 1,533,599,000 leva from health insurance transfers.

The budget allocates 2.2 billion leva for hospital care, 244 million leva for primary off-hospital care, nearly 265 for specialist off-hospital care, 1.2 billion leva for medicines, and almost 180,000 leva for dental activities.

The final version of the law provided for an extra 12 million leva for off-hospital care: 6 million leva more for primary off-hospital care, 3 million leva more for specialist off-hospital care, and 3 million leva more for medical diagnostics.

The health insurance contribution rate remains unchanged at 8 per cent.

The total debt of Bulgarian hospitals now approximates 500 million leva, of which 150 million leva are owed to the NHIF.

During the plenary debate, the Left-wing opposition demanded a 4.9 billion leva health insurance budget and moved that medicines for children under 14 should be free of charge as from next year and that the allocation for hospital care should be increased by 5.3 million leva, which could come from a waiver of NHIF's fees paid to the National Revenue Agency.

"As long as hospitals continue to be treated as commercial corporations, the problems in the sector will not be solved," Socialist MP Georgi Mihailov commented.

BSP for Bulgaria also opposed a withdrawal by parliamentary Healthcare Committee Chair Daniela Daritkova MP of GERB of a motion to exclude the financing of essential cancer treatment medicines from the budget framework, arguing that in this way the prices of these medicines will soar and patients will be forced to buy them abroad. Daritkova countered that if this exclusion was kept, it would be tantamount to "signing a blank check for 100 million leva". This made it possible to add 68 million leva to the allocation for medicines for special medical purposes and 31.9 million leva to the financing for cancer medicines.

The majority pushed through a motion enabling children with cancer to continue their free-of-charge treatment after they turn 18. Daritkova argued that this provision will guarantee that the sick children will be able to continue their therapy without changing their status once they attain majority. The opposition, however, saw this as imposing segregation and age discrimination.

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev told journalists that the new healthcare model will be elaborated in 2020 so as to implement it in 2021. He reassured the public that the allocation for medicines for rare diseases and cancer has not been decreased and these medicines will be available to patients. LG

(NW) Lack of Skilled Labour Is Worst Obstacle to Doing Business - Survey

(NW) Lack of Skilled Labour Is Worst Obstacle to Doing Business - Survey


Sofia, December 3 (BTA) - Lack of skilled labour (71 per cent), corruption (61 per cent), poor education quality (47 per cent), mistrust of and negative attitudes towards the business (17 per cent), poor infrastructure (12 per cent), and civil pressure on investment projects (5 per cent) are among the main obstacle to doing business in Bulgaria. These findings of a survey conducted by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) were presented by BIA Chairman Radosvet Radev at the 23rd Bulgaria Economic Forum 2019 in Sofia on Tuesday. The Forum is mottoed "The Bulgarian Economy at the End of 2019. Perspectives for the SMEs in 2020".

SMEs want a predictable legislative environment, while Bulgaria constantly changes its legal framework. In 11 months in 2019, the Labour Code was amended ten times, the Social Insurance Code four times and the Spatial Development Act six times. Companies need better access to financial instruments, Radev noted. The lack of a completed e-government also poses problems, along with the unreformed healthcare and social insurance systems.

In the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2019 report, Bulgaria slipped nine places, from 50th to 59th, in terms of ease of doing business. Starting a business in Bulgaria takes 23 days and seven procedures, obtaining a building requires 19 procedures and 97 days, and connecting to the electricity grid takes 262 days, which places Bulgaria 147th among 190 countries.

According to a World Bank and PriceWaterhouse Cooper report, it takes 441 hours to prepare and pay taxes in Bulgaria, compared with under 240 hours among the top performing countries, which ranks Bulgaria 97th out of 190 countries.

Against this background, it is not surprising that a mere 3.9 per cent of Bulgarians plan to start their own business in the next three years, said Radev, quoting Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. This compares with 26 per cent in Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Romania, and Macedonia. One million businesses were registered in Bulgaria in 1989-1990, compared with 413,000 now.

According to the BIA, improving the situation calls for promotion of innovations, access to financing, and state policies for incentivizing new businesses. RI/PP

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