Spain’s Minister for Defence, Pedro Morenés, has said that “Spain is considering participation in the Canadian battalion in Latvia”, following NATO’s requests to Spain during the meeting of NATO defence ministers held on 26 and 27 October in Brussels. The meeting analysed the future allied policy of dissuasion and defence and the strengthening of cooperation with the European Union.
The Minister for Defence noted that “Spain has been asked to make a number of contributions” within the framework of the advanced presence in the countries of Eastern Europe. Among the requests is to send a company to form part of the battalion led by Canada in Latvia. “Its composition and objectives will depend on how the battalion is constituted, but it will be made up of between 100 and 130 troops,” he said. However, Morenés stressed that “following parliamentary approval, it is up to the next government to take the appropriate decisions, which have already been well studied and planned.”
Spain has also been asked to participate in the battalion that NATO is to deploy in Romania, although the minister said that this “is still to be defined”.
In addition, Morenés highlighted the importance that 360º collective defence has for stability on the Southern Flank.
In this respect, the Minister for Defence said that since the Wales Summit, Spain has supported a strengthening of the Alliance that guarantees the protection of the allied territory and population against the challenges and threats with a 360º vision, given that “a 360º development is the best way of helping to tackle all the risks and threats.”
“The risks and threats we are facing are increasingly serious, and represent not only threats of a military nature, but also in other areas that affect society,” he continued. This means greater involvement by NATO in the matter of dissuasion and collective defence to the threats from the south, not limited to only cooperative security and “partnered” activities or the imbalance of the alliance to the east to the detriment of 360º balance.
With respect to relations between NATO and the European Union, Morenés stressed that the general idea is that “a Europe that is strong in defence, solid, credible and well led, is being built up as an essential contribution to an increasingly strong NATO.” He noted that “Spain has given signs of its solidarity, with a presence in far-off locations”, while it is “participating in all the European Union operations.”
The Minister for Defence spoke in favour of boosting cooperation between NATO and the EU as the best way of achieving a more effective Euro-Atlantic security, whose complementarity must prevent duplications of capacities or unnecessary efforts. His message was one of unity and political cohesion.
“A stronger Europe cannot mean a weaker NATO; and NATO cannot be strengthened by weakening Europe” he explained, while “each organisation must guarantee the other of its responsibilities with respect to collective security.