Spain will not meet the military spending committed to NATO for another seven years. Pedro Sánchez’s plans include starting now to increase investment in Defense and completing it in 2029, five years after the deadline set by the allies a decade ago and which they have reaffirmed at this Madrid summit.

The objective is to dedicate 2% of the GDP of each country to Defense. It was approved in 2014, it should be reached in 2024 and Spain is going to fail to comply. Successive governments, including the current one, have never faced an increase in military spending, in such a way that Spain occupies the last position in all of NATO, only ahead of Luxembourg, which does not have a proper army.

According to Alliance statistics, Spain spends 1.01% of GDP on Defense, just over 13,000 million euros, and will have to increase that amount above 20,000 million. In the current financial year, the budgeted expenditure is 10,150 million, although credit extensions have been added to it, depending on the needs. The President of the Government, for the moment, has not specified what the increase may be that is included in the project of the General State Budgets for 2023.

Sánchez, in his appearance at the end of the Madrid Summit, explained that he will take this objective of increasing spending to Congress. It will be one of the key pieces of what is intended to be a proposal for a state pact or “country agreement”, as the president prefers to call it. The other fundamental piece of the same will foreseeably be the commitment made with the president of the United States, Joe Biden, to welcome two new North American destroyers at the Rota naval base.

To carry out this pact, Sánchez can take for granted the support of the first opposition party, the PP, and even that of Vox and Ciudadanos, but not that of his minority government partner, United We Can, nor that of the pro-independence and minority left-wing formations that usually support him in Congress.

Despite everything, the president has expressed his confidence in being able to expand the framework of support to ensure that security and defense policy, in the face of the new threats facing Western democracies, is the subject of a consensus that, he said, “transcends ideologies”. “We”, he has assured referring to the PSOE, “we have it very clear and that is how we are going to defend it in Parliament”. In his opinion, it is time to “advance reviewing our postulates and our political decisions”, in a clear message directed mainly to his coalition partners.

The commitment to raise defense spending to 2% of GDP comes from afar. It was signed by the Government of Mariano Rajoy in 2014 on the occasion of the NATO Summit held in Wales. Now, Sánchez reiterates it at the Madrid Summit when the allies are forced to make an enormous effort to support Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, the reinforcement of the Alliance’s eastern flank and the modernization of its capabilities.

The 2014 agreement included three objectives, of which Spain fulfills two: participation in NATO missions and operations and investment in material and equipment. The same does not happen with the budget allocated to defense. “It is the commitment that remains pending,” said the president.

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