Dolores de Cospedal during the press conference./ Photo: Moncloa
The Diplomat. 11/11/2017
The Council of Ministers yesterday approved the participation of Spain in the Permanent Structured Cooperation of the EU (PESCO), the new common European framework of defense and security that will be signed next Monday in Brussels and that will allow to improve the defense capabilities and the availability of the Member States without the need to rival NATO.
“The Council of Ministers has taken a very important and historic step in the construction of the European Union”, said Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal during Moncloa’s weekly press conference.
“European integration has an ambitious path in terms of security and defense”, she continued. In this process, PESCO “will provide a political framework for member states to improve their defense capabilities and their availability for military operations through concrete projects”, De Cospedal continued. These capabilities “will also benefit NATO and strengthen the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance”, she said.
With its incorporation into PESCO, Spain has committed itself to “regularly increase” defense budgets to achieve “the agreed objectives”. The NATO countries have committed to reach 2% of defense spending in 2020.
In this sense, the Government will increase its defense investment spending in the medium term and “successively” so that it reaches 20% of the total expenditure on this matter and will increase the expenses dedicated to defense research and technology for approximate them to 2% of the total expenditure.
The Government is committed to increase military spending to achieve “the agreed objectives”
Spain, according to the Government, “has been one of the main promoters of the Common Security and Defense Policy since its inception and has maintained a constant commitment to military operations and missions launched by the European Union, as well as the institutional development of the European defense”.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation, whose implementation will be signed next Monday in Brussels by the European Defense Ministers, was included in the program of the Ministry of Defense during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of 2010, but did not prosper at that time, and was resumed after the Bratislava informal summit in September 2016, in which the Heads of State and Government of the twenty-seven Member States (the United Kingdom did not participate) decided that the defense would be one of the axes of the relaunch of the European project.