20/03/2018

Press Release – The Defense announces an absurd and unnecessary $10.805 billion increase in military spending that only benefits the arms business

The excuse of a non-binding political commitment of NATO members at the 2014 Wales summit to reach 2% of GDP in military spending by 2024 is now being used by Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal to announce a new cycle of investment in arms, in the form of seven Special Armaments Programmes (SAPs) with an initial cost of $10.805 billion. These new weapons, some of them already announced, are the armored 8×8 Piranha, the F-110 frigate, 4 Reaper drones, NH-90 helicopters and Chinook. To which are added: training aircraft, airborne refueling aircraft and the modernization of air command and control systems. These new weapons systems will swell the already expensive SAPs, some of which are still under construction and have represented a cost to the Spanish public treasury of 34,240 million euros, and of which, according to the Secretary of Defence, the amount of 21,351 million euros is still owed.

Reaching 2% of the GDP in military expenditure would represent for Spain, considering only the expenditure of the Ministry of Defence in 2017 (8,776.5 million Euros, 0.75% of the GDP) and not the rest of the military expenditure distributed by other Ministries, to allocate 23,403 million Euros to the Ministry of Defence. That’s not counting the annual GDP growth that in 2024 could put military spending at no less than 25 billion.

It is really surprising that the Spanish government is throwing itself into such an incredible increase in public spending for the purchase of weapons, when on the contrary spending on health, education, infrastructure, culture has been cut; it is claimed that there are no resources to increase pensions, there is no plan for social housing or a structural unemployment rate of 16% is maintained.

If Mariano Rajoy’s government decides to increase military spending by nearly 17 billion euros over the next few years, it is by its own decision, the NATO states are free to decide their military spending and the level of their participation in the Atlantic Alliance. Cospedal’s announcement once again prioritizes the economic benefits of a few arms manufacturers and is clearly at the expense of the general interest.

Centro Delàs de Estudios por la Paz