Madrid takes centre stage in the coming week as heads of governments from across the western world descend on the Spanish capital for the NATO Summit.
The Summit which will be held on 29 and 30 June in the IFEMA Convention Centre, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of Spain’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, is the most important since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The 30-nation alliance will be making key decisions to enhance its response to Russia´s invasion of Ukraine including increased spending commitments and the deployment of more forces to its eastern flank.
Another key area will be the accession of Finland and Sweden, who have overturned decades of neutrality in the wake of the Russian attack.
The Summit will also be signing off on the Madrid Strategic Concept, a document that will shape the future of the organisation for the next 10 years.
The White House has announced that President Joe Biden will have bilateral meetings with the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, and dinner with King Felipe VI.
The meeting is being held 25 years after NATO held its first summit in Spain. On 30 May 1982, Spain became the 16th member of NATO.
Since then, it has contributed to the alliance by land, sea and air and is a key component of the Baltic forward deployed forces.
In 1995, Javier Solana, Spain’s then foreign minister, was elected Secretary General of NATO, the only Spaniard to hold this office to date.
Madrid is likely to face considerable disruption with increased security throughout the capital as well as mobility restrictions in the area around IFEMA, Paseo de la Castellana, and Paseo del Prado.
Further traffic disruptions are expected on Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th with main artery roads such as the Paseo de la Castellana, Gran Vía, Paseo de Recoletos, Avenida de América, Plaza de Colón, Goya, Glorieta de Ruiz Jiménez.
Access to and from Barajas Airport is also affected with the A2 and M-11 motorways closed to all non-official traffic between 9-10am and 5-6pm for the duration.
However, there is some good news for Madrid commuters – buses, Cercania trains, and the metro will run more frequently to facilitate travel in the city and best of all – all EMT city buses will be free of charge on the 28, 29 and 30 June.