Bulgaria has opted not to operationalise or institutionalise a WGA to external conflicts and crises at the national level. What’s more, to presuppose that the eventual institutionalisation of a WGA would increase the level of Bulgarian involvement and effectiveness in responding to such events would be highly speculative.
However, Bulgaria does explicitly support the 2016 EUGS, and general references to it are part of both public and internal documents of various ministries and the government. The 2018 National Security Strategy (National Assembly of Bulgaria 2018) concludes with a statement that it builds upon “a comprehensive approach to security”, but it does not include any explicit definition of comprehensive approach. In the Bulgarian context, a ‘comprehensive approach’ implies awareness of the multi-level complexity of challenges that need to be addressed not only at the local and national levels, but also at the regional and global ones. This understanding explains the importance that Bulgaria attaches to multilateral cooperation within the framework of NATO, the EU and other multilateral organisations and operations.
With regard to development policy, bilateral aid is only a small part of Bulgaria’s rather low level of overall contributions, with the lion’s share being channelled through the relevant multilateral body or bodies. Similarly, coordination at the EU, NATO, OSCE and UN levels is essential for the effectiveness of the missions in which Bulgaria participates in fulfilling its membership obligations. This might explain why Bulgarian tends to view the need for a WGA to external conflicts and crises as an issue to be addressed at the European and international levels rather than at the national one.
References to external conflicts and crises in Bulgarian political debates and policy documents are always related to the nexus of internal and external security. Political consensus and a supportive public opinion are important preconditions for Bulgarian involvement in external conflicts and crises.