“Everything is ready.” In La Moncloa they begin to sigh in relief. Perhaps the most complex remains: holding the NATO summit. But behind there are months of work, diplomacy, logistics… The president’s team attaches the utmost importance to the appointment. They are convinced that it is an unrivaled window for Spain’s reputation, for its capabilities in a difficult context and, also, for Pedro Sánchez to exhibit and reaffirm his international profile. A summit to make Marca España, but also Marca Sánchez.

“It is an opportunity to show itself to the world,” state government sources. Emphasis is placed on the fact that, for a week, Spain, Madrid, will be the epicenter of the world. And not only. The appointment “places Spain at the center for the next decade,” they add, because diplomatic sources stress that the Strategic Concept to be agreed upon will be called the Madrid Strategic Concept.

The purpose, in addition to successfully organizing and consuming NATO’s gaze towards the southern flank -the Government takes it for granted, although it does not seem so clear from Washington-, is to sell the country, the opportunities for Spain to do business, attract investment, international tourism…

For this reason, the meal that will be celebrated on Wednesday 29 by the companions of the heads of state and prime ministers will be served by Paradores, showing the richness of Spanish gastronomy; they will visit the Royal Glass Factory of La Granja; there will be a dinner at the Prado Museum, after a tour of the attendees that will take the art gallery to the whole world; in Ifema, where the summit is held, Spain will be present, in every corner. Even the newsrooms are named after Spanish cities.

But the appointment is also a window to shore up Sánchez’s international profile. La Moncloa has worked on it since in July 2018, a month after coming to power, the president received Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO. Sánchez squeezes the summit with a parallel bilateral agenda in which he will receive the leaders of Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Iceland and Canada at La Moncloa. Key and expected appointment is the meeting with Joe Biden. Some meetings and, above all, the photo with Biden, which will allow the president to take a breather after the blow of 19-J. And the staging at the Government headquarters, and not at the Ifema facilities, is a plus.

An effort has also been made to hold the aforementioned Euro-Atlantic dinner in the Prado on Wednesday, with the presence of the members of the alliance, the European allies that are not NATO partners and the representatives of the European institutions. “It is the first time that this format has been organized,” emphasize government sources, who stress: “This dinner is a success for the president.” An effort to achieve something unprecedented.

Sánchez had five appointments with Stoltenberg already and now he is going to receive as many other leaders in Moncloa

Strategically, another commitment of Sánchez and Minister José Manuel Albares, in addition to achieving that look to the south, is that the meeting confirms EU-NATO coordination. “It is not an alternative, but a real necessity.” May the summit go down in history as that of twinning. It is a purpose, Sánchez and Albares repeat. Hence the interest in this Euro-Atlantic dinner, marking the milestone, that Sánchez remains as the political leader who wove NATO-EU coordination, that cohesion and complementarity.

The Chief Executive will act as host of the summit, something that will be verified in the walk he will take with Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday at noon to show him the facilities. In addition, he will hold a working lunch in La Moncloa with the Secretary General of NATO, who has been a recurring visit in recent times. At the end of last May, he spent several days in Spain, including an informal meeting with Sánchez and events with the King and Queen and former Prime Ministers to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Spain’s entry into NATO. He had already been in Moncloa on October 8, 2021 -the dates of the summit were officially announced- and they had met a month earlier in a bilateral meeting during the UN Assembly. In June, they had already appeared together before the media at NATO headquarters in Brussels. That is to say, including that initial meeting as soon as the motion of censure was successful, five high-level appointments with maximum repercussion for Sánchez.

The cost of the summit, which Mariano Rajoy offered to host in January 2018, in a meeting with Stoltenberg and the then Minister Cospedal in Moncloa, and which the Sánchez Executive has executed, will amount to around 50 million euros, but the The Government considers that the revenue it obtains far exceeds the outlay. “It’s worth it” for the good image that he will project of Spain.

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