The release of nearly one billion euros for Spain’s armed forces has sparked tensions in the Spanish government between the Socialists and their leftist partners who are opposed to a defense budget increase promised by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to NATO.
Hosting last week’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Madrid pledged, like the other members of the Alliance, to increase its defense budget to 2% of GDP.
Without waiting for tense negotiations on the next budget with its many allies in Parliament, the minority government of Pedro Sanchez today released a 999.7 million euro package to cover “all extraordinary costs” related to the war in Ukraine, said government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez.
This file falls under Sanchez’s “commitment” to NATO, he emphasized.
According to NATO’s latest annual report, Spain, which invests 1.03% of its GDP in defense, is the second-to-last country in the Alliance in terms of military spending, ahead of Luxembourg.
The Socialists’ partner in the government, the radical left-wing formation Podemos, which has been very critical of the sending of arms to Kyiv since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has directly shown its opposition to the allocation of these funds to the military and, more generally, to the increase of defense budget.
Its leader in the government, Labor Minister Yolanda Dias, announced today that she has called for the “urgent convening” of the ruling coalition’s monitoring committee, which is responsible for verifying whether the commitments it made when it was formed in January 2020 are being kept.
Podemos claim to have learned from the press about the release of these funds for the army, which the Socialists deny.
“Spending money on weapons to satisfy the demands of a foreign power (including the US) instead of investing it in better public health, better education and social protection does not correspond to the budget that our country needs,” stressed yesterday general secretary of Podemos Ione Belara.
In an interview with local newspaper El Diario Montañés, Socialist Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albarez hit back at Podemos today, saying he “cannot imagine a political force that opposes guaranteeing the safety and protection of Spaniards while the threats to our security have grown as much as ever for decades.”
I am Derek Black, an author of World Stock Market. I have degree in creative writing and journalism from the University of Central Florida. I have a passion for writing and informing the public. I strive to be accurate and fair in my reporting, and to provide a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard.