BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Spain is increasing military spending as it works toward meeting a NATO commitment by dedicating 2% of gross domestic product to defense, the Spanish government said Tuesday.
Cabinet members approved a one-off expenditure of almost 1 billion euros ($1 billion) for Spain’s Defense Ministry that the government said was needed to cover unexpected expenses produced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Spain has sent military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and deployed more troops and aircraft to NATO missions in Eastern Europe.
NATO leaders agreed at a summit held in Madrid last week to expand their efforts to get all alliance members up to the 2% of GDP mark. Currently, only nine of the Western military alliance’s 30 members meet or surpass that goal.
Spain pledged at a NATO summit held in Madrid last week that it would reach the 2% of GDP goal by 2029. That would mean doubling its budget for military spending from the current 13 billion euros ($13.4 billion) to 26,000 billion euros ($27 billion) in seven years.
Spain currently spends 1% of its GDP on defense. Only Luxembourg spends a lower percentage of GDP on defense than Spain in the North Atlantic alliance, according to NATO.
The decision designed to show NATO that Spain is serious about spending more on its armed forces risks causing friction within its left-wing governing coalition, which does not hold a majority in parliament.
Government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said after the Cabinet meeting that the military funding approved Tuesday was adopted “as part of our commitment to a clear and firm response to (the) invasion of Ukraine and to meet the extraordinary costs for our armed forces created by the war.”