Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez accepted two proposals which must now be approved by parliament. The problem is that the PSOE’s coalition partner, Unidas Podemos, opposes it
The Spanish coalition government is facing a very important new challenge. During the NATO summit which has just ended in Madrid, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez accepted that the United States increase its military presence at the naval base of Rota (Cádiz) and he must have this approved by parliament, as well as a proposal that would commit Spain to increasing its defense spending to 2% of GDP – double the current rate – in 2029. The problem is that the PSOE’s coalition partner, Unidas Podemos, is opposed to the two, and in response, Sánchez said they needed to think about what it means to be in NATO.
He elaborated on this in a television interview on Thursday, saying: “We have to be aware that beyond Europe and NATO the world is very complicated, it is very cold and it is important that we defend our way of life based on an international order. which is based on certain rules, which are the ones that Putin broke,” and he argued that greater investment in defense generates jobs, business and opportunity in different territories.
No U-turn this time?
In the past, Unidas Podemos threatened to vote against certain measures but backtracked at the last moment, and Sánchez is counting on them to do so again. However, this time might be different. Party general secretary Ione Belarra insisted that Podemos does not see the deal reached with Biden as relevant, and said what Europe needs is more strategic autonomy and not to depend on external parties.
She also said she would try to convince Sánchez that Spain needs “guaranteed income, more doctors and more teachers, not more weapons and tanks.”
Unidas Podemos is not alone either. Other usual allies of the Socialists in parliament such as ERC, EH-Bildú and Más Pais have also spoken out against the plan. However, the PP, Vox and Ciudadanos said they would support both proposals.
Pedro Sánchez seems quite confident that he will soon be able to push through both measures, but at the moment nothing seems certain.