(Update 1: Adds Stoltenberg comments)
Madrid, May 30 (EFE).- Spain will boost its military spending to guarantee the stability and security of the country in response to the Russian threat, prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday.
“I am going to convey to the Spanish people that we must make this effort, because the cost of sitting back and doing nothing while the most basic and fundamental aspects of our society — such as freedom and democracy — are being jeopardized is much higher,” Sanchez said.
The prime minister was speaking at an event marking the 40th anniversary of Spain’s Nato membership, which was joined by the Alliance’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and Spain’s King Felipe VI.
Sanchez said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had made the European Union and Spain realize that “unity is essential” to preserve security and build a “certain future.”
“It is essential to reinforce deterrence capabilities and this will require modern, capable and available military capabilities that can only be acquired with an increase in military spending,” the prime minister said.
Spain’s military expenditure currently represents 1.03% of its GDP and Sanchez said his government was planning to double the figure by 2024.
Nato allies have committed to defense spending at 2% of their GDP and several countries have increased their military budget in response to the war in Ukraine.
One month before hosting the Nato Summit in Madrid, Sanchez said the meeting would focus on a new strategy to consolidate the Alliance and that Sweden and Finland’s entry, despite Turkey’s reluctance, would be of “enormous value”.
“Supporting Ukraine with determination is the only way to ensure that Europe and the world we have built has a certain future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stoltenberg said next month’s summit would be a “historic” opportunity to strengthen the Alliance in the face of Russian aggression.
“At the Madrid summit, we will chart the way ahead for the next decade,” he said.
“We will also be joined by Finland and Sweden, who have just made historic applications to join our alliance. The Madrid summit is an important opportunity to reaffirm our NATO values,” Stoltenberg added. EFE