The countdown begins for the "historic" NATO summit to be held in Madrid at the end of June. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Spain's accession to the Atlantic Alliance, the Royal Theater has hosted an act at the highest institutional level that has served as a prelude to the meeting that will take place on June 29 and 30, from which the new roadmap to guide NATO's strategy for the next ten years. From the lectern, King Felipe VI has asked before the relevant personalities gathered that NATO and the European Union work together, seamlessly, in the face of "the unacceptable Russian aggression" against Ukraine.
More than 300 people have gathered this morning at the Royal Theater for the starting signal of a "crucial" summit, which will be marked by the war in Ukraine and the possible entry of Finland and Sweden into the Alliance. The heads of State institutions have gathered in the stalls. King Felipe VI and the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, were accompanied by the President of Congress, Meritxell Batet; that of the Senate, Ander Gil; and the General Council of the Judiciary, Carlos Lesmes. Also, along with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stotenberg, have been the former presidents José María Aznar and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Felipe VI began his speech by acknowledging that "unfortunately" the circumstances surrounding the anniversary that was celebrated today are not what Spain would have wanted. "The unacceptable Russian aggression against Ukraine reminds us, and it does so in a tragic way, of the enormous value of our lives of peace, security and democracy," the monarch assured.
During his speech, the King reviewed the 40 years since Spain joined NATO. Although the country has "benefited" from the security provided by the Alliance, for its part it has "favoured" the strategic saturation of Spain and its commitment to the military contribution, Felipe VI has summed up. Something that Sánchez and Stotenberg have also emphasized, who have valued the role played by the Spanish Armed Forces in NATO's foreign missions.
In the words of Felipe VI, the Madrid summit must offer the tools and answers that the Alliance needs to face all the common challenges, beginning with a new Strategic Concept that will bear the 'last name' of Madrid. This will serve as "an effective beacon and guide" for the next decade. "Spain will contribute to the final objective of making the Alliance resulting from the Summit stronger, more intelligent, more effective and, therefore, better prepared and equipped to collectively face a new, more complex security environment", he added.
And in this decisive context, the king has affirmed that Spain is convinced that it will only be successful if it manages to "associate effectively" with NATO and the European Union. Both organizations, he has detailed, share "the same threats and challenges", so that "only by working together, reinforcing and complementing each other" can the necessary synergies be created effectively.
For his part, the President of the Government, who has been accompanied by up to seven socialist ministers but none from United We Can, also wanted to highlight the turning point for modern Spain, its entry into NATO, the first country to enter she by popular decision. In his speech, too, one of the most repeated words has been that of unity, as a fundamental element to "strengthen security."
In this way, Sánchez has reiterated the commitment to increase defense spending, marked by an increase of up to 2% in 2030. "We must make the effort because the cost of sitting idly by is greater," the president said of an issue that keeps the Council of Ministers divided. The wing of United We Can has already been repeatedly against increasing the budget for the Ministry of Defense, they even showed their opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine after the Russian invasion.