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Bulgaria to Mark 20 Years since NATO Accession in 2024

The Council of Ministers on Wednesday adopted a National Programme of initiatives to mark the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria’s accession to NATO throughout 2024, the Government Information Service said. “The initiatives come under a comprehensive concept and have common messages demonstrating Bulgaria being part of the largest and most successful politico-military alliance in history and of the single community of shared values, interests and readiness for mutual defence,” the press release specified.  
The Programme has been initiated by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel and was drafted by an Interdepartmental Working Group involving the ministries of foreign affairs, defence, interior, education and science, finance, and innovation and growth and the Council of Ministers. “The year-long initiatives and information campaign are intended to raise the awareness above all of the young generation of NATO’s essence and objectives and the advantages for Bulgaria from membership of the organization, to dispel the fake news and narratives that are being circulated, to build resilience against external influence, manipulation of information and disinformation. The planned initiatives will take place both in Sofia and in a number of municipalities countrywide,” the Government Information Service said. 
Bulgaria joined NATO as a full member on March 29, 2004, when Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha handed the instruments of ratification of the country’s accession protocol to US State Secretary Colin Powell in Washington, D.C. Six other countries acceded on that date: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. On April 2, the flags of the seven new member countries were raised at an official ceremony at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
In parallel with the National Programme, an international programme will be implemented in 2024 as well, including on initiatives proposed by the Bulgarian diplomatic missions abroad. Opportunities will also be explored for joint observances on site with the countries which also mark the anniversary of their NATO accession.
By another decision, the Council of Ministers authorized the commitment of up to 150 service members of the Bulgarian Armed Forces with their personal weapons, accoutrements and military equipment, to the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR).
At this point in time, the Bulgarian Armed Forces participate in KFOR with up to 35 service members and additionally with personnel of up to 150 service persons in the 2nd Battalion of the KFOR Operational Reserve Force, who are accomplishing planned missions by virtue of the Berlin Plus Agreement between NATO and the EU.