World, Europe

Spain approves over $1B boost in military spending

Country is trying to live up to its ambitious NATO promises but spending is causing a rift in progressive coalition

Alyssa McMurtry   | 05.07.2022
Spain approves over $1B boost in military spending

OVIEDO, Spain

The Spanish Cabinet approved on Tuesday a €1 billion ($1.03 billion) injection into the country’s military budget.

The one-time spend aims to cover the unexpected cost of the war in Ukraine, said government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez.

The increase in defense spending also aligns with Spain’s promise to NATO to allocate 2% of its gross domestic product to its military by 2029.

Currently, Spain budgets just 1.01% of its GDP on defense, the lowest share of any NATO country except for Luxembourg.

Its commitment to almost double its military spending in the next seven years entails the single most ambitious planned increase of NATO allies in Europe.

However, Tuesday’s announcement is already causing a rift within Spain’s progressive coalition government.

The junior partner, Unidas Podemos, has repeatedly expressed its discontent with a bigger military budget, arguing that it will take away resources from social spending.

Deputy Prime Minister and Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz from the far-left party said she was caught off guard by the massive injection of funds into the military and called for an emergency coalition meeting to discuss the issue.

“Increasing the defense budget to 2% means increasing military spending to €22 billion. The Labor Ministry has a budget of €33 billion. We believe this is a debate that Spanish society should have carefully and without rushing,” she told press on Tuesday.

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