Bulgaria's arms transfer control system at EU accession: an analysis

Bulgaria's arms transfer control system has been developing dynamically over the past decade in light of Bulgaria's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 2004 and to the European Union (EU) in 2007. Past allegations of unregulated arms deliveries to embargoed destinations have gradually subsided and Bulgaria has taken steps to align its conventional weapons and dual-use export control systems with EU standards.

Nevertheless, the previous lack of public transparency and the entrenched and narrow approach to export licence decision-making in some ministries, particularly in relation to Bulgaria's foreign policy obligations, raise serious concerns about Bulgaria's commitment to international best practice.

This report analyses and assesses Bulgaria's legislation, regulation and capacity on areas such as brokering, production, end-use; licensing of transfers, transparency and reporting, alongside adherence to international commitments on arms exports. It outlines a number of key recommendations for the Government and the international community to improve arms transfer controls.