Spain increases military spending to meet NATO goal

BARCELONA (Spanish) -- Spain has increased military spending to meet its NATO commitment.

Spain increases military spending to meet NATO goal

BARCELONA (Spanish) -- Spain has increased military spending to meet its NATO commitment. The country will dedicate 2% of its gross domestic product for defense, according to Tuesday's government statement.

Cabinet members approved an expenditure of nearly 1 billion euros (around 1.04 billion dollars) for Spain's Defense Ministry. The government stated that this was necessary to cover unexpected expenses resulting from Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

Spain has sent humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and more troops and aircraft to NATO missions.

At a summit in Madrid last week, NATO leaders decided to increase their efforts to bring all members of the alliance up to the 2% mark. Only nine out of the 30 Western military alliance members have reached or exceeded this goal.

At the NATO summit in Madrid last week, Spain promised that it would achieve the 2% GDP goal by 2029. This would require Spain to double its military spending budget, from 13 billion euros (£13.4 billion) to 26 million euros ($27 billion) over seven years.

Spain currently spends just 1% of its GDP for defense. According to NATO, only Luxembourg has a lower defense budget than Spain.

The U.S. is the largest NATO member and has complained for years that many of its European allies aren't doing enough. Spain has, for instance, tried to offset underspending by contributing ships, planes, and troops to NATO missions.

Many European countries have reacted to Russia's February invasion of Ukraine. Germany, which has spent only 1.4% of its GDP for defense so far, has now approved a special fund of 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to help strengthen its military.

At last week's NATO summit, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, stated that allies had reaffirmed their commitments to the 2% minimum. He stated that 19 NATO members had pledged to meet the minimum by 2024 with five additional members, including Spain, following suit.

Stoltenberg stated that "Two percent" is now being considered an "increasingly considered a floor, and not a ceiling" at the summit in which NATO declared Russia its top threat. He also described China's increasing military ambitions as "a challenge."

Spain's decision to demonstrate NATO it is serious about spending more money on its armed forces could cause friction within its left-wing coalition government, which does not hold a majority in parliament.

United We Can, the government's junior member is strongly opposed to more military spending as proposed by Pedro Sanchez, Socialist Prime Minister. The left-wing party called for a meeting with the coalition to discuss spending priorities.

Isabel Rodriguez, a government spokeswoman, stated after Tuesday's Cabinet meeting that the approval of military funding was made "as part our commitment to a firm and clear response to (the invasion of Ukraine) and to cover the extraordinary costs for our Armed Forces created by war."

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