The new defense policy launched by the Government as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to generate tension between the partners. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez , insisted this Thursday on the need to raise military spending to the equivalent of 2% of GDP -which practically doubles the current investment-, and assured that this decision must be shared in an “agreement of country” in which all the parties are.
However, this agreement does not occur even within the Executive, since Podemos rejected this increase in investment in defense, assuring that “Spain needs a guaranteed income much more than an investment in tanks and weapons.”
Sánchez’s words reopened a debate that already arose last March, just a few weeks after the war in Ukraine began. Then, the president was already in favor of reaching 2% of GDP in the defense budget in order to fulfill the commitments that the NATO countries have signed with the Alliance. United We Can was already opposed to this increase in military spending at that time, but Sánchez has insisted on it on numerous occasions and, this Thursday, he did so together with all the allied leaders to highlight the solemnity of the message.
“NATO is an alliance of democracies in defense of democracy,” said the President of the Government, who explained that the Alliance has decided to increase its “dissuasion capabilities.” “Spain has committed to increasing the defense budget to about 2% by 2029 ,” insisted Sánchez, who wanted to sell the benefits of this plan, ensuring that “it generates jobs, companies” and “opportunities in different territories.”
“We have to be aware that, beyond Europe, the world is very complicated and it is important to defend our way of living and our way of relating to each other, with rules”, stated the president. ” Security is an essential condition to maintain our model of life ,” he later warned.
That “proposal,” said Sánchez, will have to receive the endorsement of the Congress of Deputies, since the idea is to start increasing military spending in the next General State Budgets. But, as “it is an objective that transcends this legislature”, the president’s objective is that “all the political forces are recognized in him”, so that a change in the Executive does not ruin the plans. “It has to be a country agreement,” he said, just as it should be, the anchoring of two new US destroyers at the Rota naval base, which for United We Can is not “relevant.”
The rejection of Podemos
It seems very complicated, however, for Sánchez to achieve the unanimity he is looking for to increase military investment. The wing of the Government of United We Can has always been very reluctant to adopt this measure, and this Thursday the Minister of Social Rights and General Secretary of Podemos, Ione Belarra , assured that she aspires to “convince” the PSOE that what the citizens are not “tanks” but rather “more guaranteed incomes , that attend primary care in 24 or 48 hours” and “have a specialist in the doctor.”
“The question that must be asked, if more money is allocated to military investment, is where it comes from ,” Belarra raised, in line with what has been the great purple argument of recent days: that an increase in military spending would imply have fewer resources for social areas. In addition, the Minister of Social Rights slipped that this increase in investment in Defense would make it very difficult to gather the support of the usual parliamentary partners of the Government, which could even cast doubt on the approval of the next General State Budgets. “The numbers in Congress would be stubborn,” she said.