As it seeks to fulfill a NATO pledge by allocating 2% of GDP to defense, Spain is raising military spending.
Spain’s BARCELONA (AP) — According to the government’s announcement on Tuesday, Spain is increasing military spending as it strives to fulfil a NATO pledge by allocating 2% of its GDP to defence.
Members of the cabinet agreed to one-time spending of over 1 billion euros (or $1.04 billion) for Spain’s Defense Ministry, which the administration claimed was required to pay for unforeseen costs brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In addition to sending more troops and aircraft to NATO missions in Eastern Europe, Spain has sent military and humanitarian help to Ukraine.
At their summit last week in Madrid, NATO leaders decided to step up their efforts to raise all alliance countries’ GDP levels to the 2% threshold. Only nine of the 30 members of the Western military alliance currently achieve or surpass that objective.
Spain promised to achieve the 2% of GDP target by 2029 at the NATO summit held in Madrid last week. This would require increasing its military budget from its current level of 13 billion euros ($13.4 billion) to 26 billion euros ($27 billion) over seven years.
Currently, Spain dedicates 1% of its GDP to defense. In the North Atlantic alliance, only Luxembourg spends less of its GDP on defense than Spain, according to NATO.
The United States, which supplies the majority of NATO forces, has long complained that some of its European members don’t provide enough. For instance, Spain has made efforts to make up for underspending by sending personnel, aircraft, and ships to NATO missions.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, numerous European nations have begun to rearm. Germany has established a 100 billion euro ($107 billion) special fund to bolster the nation’s military, despite only allocating 1.4% of its GDP on defence up until now.
The partners have reiterated their commitment to the 2% minimum, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who made the statement at the summit last week. He claimed that by 2024, 19 members would have committed to doing so, with the remaining five—including Spain—following.
At the conference, where China’s expanding military ambitions were referred to as a “challenge” and NATO identified Russia to be its top concern, Stoltenberg stated that “two percent is increasingly considered a floor, not a ceiling.”
The move by Spain to demonstrate to NATO that it is serious about increasing military spending runs the risk of sparking conflict inside its left-wing ruling coalition, which does not have a majority in parliament.
The minority party in the cabinet, United We Can, is adamantly opposed to socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s call for increased military spending. The coalition will meet to debate its spending objectives, according to the left-wing party.
The military funding approved Tuesday was adopted, according to government spokeswoman Isabel Rodrguez, “as part of our commitment to a clear and firm response to (the) invasion of Ukraine and to meet the extraordinary costs for our armed forces created by the war,” she said following the Cabinet meeting.
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