Bulgaria - Country Commercial Guide
Safety and Security
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Bulgaria, with an external EU border, hoped to join the EU Schengen area before 2022. This is one of the reasons why safety and security remains an important agenda issue for the Bulgarian government and businesses in 2022, and into the future. The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, Border Police, together with the Ministry of Finance, the Customs Agency are looking for ways to improve and strengthen management and information sharing of the borders – both internal and external for EU. This trend has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and has delayed the process of Schengen acceptance, whilst necessitating more security improvements and cooperation with the EU.

For the new EU program period 2021-2027 Bulgaria is expected to receive nearly USD 34.6 billion for various programs and around USD 600 million will be dedicated to security and homeland infrastructure projects to strengthen the functionality of the borders and EU exchange information. Bulgaria will also have to maintain and upgrade the completed fence on the Turkish border (a project for USD 100 million – 240 km) as this infrastructure project is of a crucial importance for both Bulgarian and European security. The upgrade of the border with Turkey projects became really important in the second half of 2021 with the latest changes with the Afghan Government and the follow up migration crisis.

Since 2017, US Overview 

Bulgaria’s desire to join the EU Schengen area is one of the reasons safety and security remain an important issue for the Bulgarian government and businesses. The Ministry of Interior, Border Police, Ministry of Finance, and the Customs Agency are looking for ways to improve and strengthen management and information sharing for borders – both internal and external for EU. This need has been amplified by the invasion of Ukraine and delayed the process of Schengen acceptance, while necessitating more security improvements and cooperation with the EU.

For the EU program period 2021-2027, Bulgaria is expected to receive USD 34.6 billion for various programs and roughly USD 600 million will be dedicated to security and homeland infrastructure projects to strengthen borders information exchange. Bulgaria will also have to maintain and upgrade the completed fence on the Turkish border (USD 100 million – 240 km), as this is seen as critical for Bulgarian and European security.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection works closely with Bulgarian Border Police on optimizing the border checking process and providing high level intelligence in cooperation with Interpol, the FBI and Bulgarian authorities.

Bulgaria’s defense spending in 2022 was almost USD 1.4 billion, which is 1.54 percent of GDP. Bulgaria’s defense budget for 2023 stands at USD 1.87 billion (1.85 percent of the GDP). The increased defense expenditure is also strongly driven by the security threat posed by Russia.

A substantial part of Bulgaria’s fleet requires modernization because of past low spending levels for maintenance and innovation. Bulgaria has been pursuing closer ties with the United States, aiming to reduce its reliance on Russian suppliers for arms and maintenance, repair, and operations services. It has opened to Western alternatives, centered on combined arms maneuver warfare, which will increase Bulgaria’s capacity to participate in NATO missions. As a result, Bulgaria formed and equipped two mechanized brigades as its primary warfighting formations.

Bulgarian security market revenue is expected to grow 17 percent annually, reaching USD 20.7 million in 2026.  The three biggest expenditures are: 44% for First Responders; 32.5 % Security infrastructure; and 13.3% for Border Security. Critical National Infrastructure (6.1%), Transport Security (1.7%) Major events (1.5%) and Central Government Security (0.9 %). In 2030 the Bulgarian Security Market is expected to reach USD 1.61 billion.

Bulgarian Security Sector revenue shares (for 2020, the latest information available) by technology: surveillance USD 31.28 million; communication equipment USD 20.78 million; managed services USD 17.6 million; command & control USD 12.24 million; fire equipment USD 10.83 million; vehicles & platforms USD 8.88 million and others, such as Access Control and Identity Management, Screening and Detection, Data Analytics and Storage, Personal Protection Gear, Disaster Management and Risk Averse Security.

The key sectors in the Bulgarian defense market are military land vehicles, naval vessels and surface combatants, military fixed-wing, submarines, missiles and missile defense systems, electronic warfare, tactical communications systems, underwater warfare systems, EOIR systems, military radar, military simulation and training, naval engines, artillery, military UAV, and INS GNSS.

Europe, and more specifically Bulgaria, is a key target for cybercrime because of its advanced Internet infrastructure, high number of users, and payment systems. In addition, several cities in Bulgaria, such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas, host many R&D centers, centers of excellence, software development hubs, service and shared centers for leading global companies and manage 24/7 international operations. Bulgaria’s rapid development in the latest IT, AI, Big data and communication also triggers significant cybercrime interest.

Bulgaria signed a memorandum of understanding with NATO to foster international collaboration on countering cyber threats through information- and capability-sharing, as well as joint participation in cyber exercises. The legal framework was harmonized with EU legislation and provides numerous investment opportunities for foreign companies.

Around 57 percent of Bulgarian organizations were subject to cyberattacks once a day or once a month, and cyber-attacks against Bulgarian business have increased by 20 percent. The Bulgarian government adopted a National Strategy for Cybersecurity called “Cyber Resilient Bulgaria 2020” that aims to provide better protection for citizens, businesses, governments and critical infrastructure.

Cybersecurity is crucial for businesses, citizens and the government, given the adoption of an E-Governance law and future implementation of e-services. Cybersecurity has become even more of a priority in 2023 given the cyberattacks against national institutions coinciding with the war in Ukraine. The new Ministry of E-Government has increased prevention efforts and has promised to collaborate with Western partners.


Current safety & security projects and opportunities include improvement and upgrade of public safety and traffic safety, timely response to disasters, and the further development of intelligent transport systems and UAV management.

Public Safety 

Most large and mid-sized cities in Bulgaria have a video surveillance system. More than 3,000 cameras in Sofia monitor pedestrian areas, major crossings, and traffic safety. In general, the central areas in cities are the most monitored zones, but sensitive zones, including for traffic safety and public safety, will be added and will include all police vehicles being equipped with built-in video surveillance.

Improving IT security is a top investment priority for Bulgarian financial institutions. Some 67 percent of Bulgarian banks and insurance companies plan to increase their spending on security technology and invest in automating key customer services.

Reports show that 99.9 percent of cyberattacks in Bulgaria are due to weak information security. In response to increases in cyber threats, in 2020 the Bulgarian government, with EC financial support, announced programs/initiatives to spend USD 9 million to fight Botnet and will spend USD 1 million for regulations of cyber threats.

Traffic Safety

Bulgaria is among the top three EU countries for traffic accidents. In 2019, the Bulgarian Government created the State Agency for Road Safety to reduce accidents and increase public awareness. Traffic police aim to complete the following:

  • Update speed cameras
  • Acquire new laser speed cameras in 30 cities to check the speed of more than one vehicle at the same time and generate fines sent directly via mail
  • Invest in new road construction and repair efforts to increase safety

Security Companies 

There are over 3,200 registered security companies in Bulgaria – 1,090 have a national license and the remaining 2,110 have regional licenses. Most are small and medium-sized companies and do not directly acquire security equipment but provide centralized security services by means of technical equipment via monitoring centers and vehicle patrols, physical security, convoys of valuables and dangerous loads, in addition to the delivery, installation and support of security systems.

Some of the leading security companies belong to the National Association of Trade Security and Security Companies, NAFTSO, including VIP Security, Bodu, SOD and SOT-161. NAFTSO is a non-profit association of Bulgarian security companies that employ over 22,400 people (37.1 percent of private security employees).

Local production of security equipment is limited to parts and accessories for optics and camera parts, telephones and installations, metal detectors, safe deposit boxes, intercoms, sirens, control panels, control alarm systems, electronic locking systems for elevators; electronic locking systems for external doors inputs, TV systems for day/night surveillance, systems for perimeter and outside perimeter guarding, cameras and lenses, communication cables, fire detectors, equipment and parts for access control, signaling devices and production of protective clothing with special purpose – fireproof, antistatic, water and oil-proof, wind-proof and aggressive-proof.

Leading Sub-sectors

To join the Schengen Area, the Bulgarian government must upgrade its EU external borders and integrate into the Schengen Information System (SIS).


X-ray scanning equipment, MR equipment, infrared mobile and stationary equipment, IP video surveillance, on-site field testing, access control equipment, CCTV, laboratory equipment, ID security application equipment, new IT and high-tech equipment, programs, and related services.

Trade Events

  • Plovdiv, Bulgaria, INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES EXHIBITION HEMUS 2024 - for land forces, air force, navy, joint capabilities, combat support and logistic, security and antiterrorism. The International Scientific Conference offers the latest developments in national security.  
  • Belgrade, Serbia, Partner-Defence exhibition 2023 – the International Defense Fair is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia.
  • Bucharest, Romania, Black Sea Defence and Aerospace 2024 - Aerospace & Defense Exhibition held every 2 years at Romexpo.


Ministry of Finance, State Agency Customs – www.customs.bg


Ministry of Interior

Border Police

Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications

Cyber Crime Awareness website

National Association of Trade Security and Security Companies - NAFTSO

Industrial Cluster Security

Bulgarian Chamber of Security and Protection

Frost & Sullivan Company

Bulgarian News Agency

U.S. Commercial Service Sofia Contact Information:

Name: Peter Delin

Position: Commercial Specialist

Email: peter.delin@trade.gov

Phone: +359-2-939-5784