The Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announced yesterday, 14th June,that Madrid will host the 2022 Summit of the 30 member military alliance.
This is the first time in 25 years that Spain has hosted the annual summit – also in Madrid, when Jose Maria Aznar was Prime Minister.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, he said that the decision was apt in that it coincided with the 40th anniversary of Spain’s accession to NATO in 1982 and that it reflects that “Spain is an ally of extreme value.”
The 2022 summit will include “many important decisions” such as “agreeing on a new NATO Strategic Concept,” which was a theme this year as well, as Stoltenberg outlined the need for a recognition that the alliance needs to confront the rise of China as a world power and possible threat to the western democracies.
In addition the summit will choose a successor to the former Norwegian Prime Minister as General Secretary.
Spain contributes to a number of NATO missions including providing a fast jet deterrent in Latvia, training in Iraq, as well as the former training mission in Afganistan.
In addition Spain hosts the important US Navy base at Rota and commands Standing Naval Force No2 which is presently engaged with the Royal Navy in the Mediterannean.
Spain is the 7th largest contributor to NATO and the country has the 8th highest defence budget in the alliance.
For Pedro Sánchez, it was something of a salvation of a 2021 summit that had been billed as his first head to head with the United States President, Joe Biden.
Instead of a billed meeting, however, Sanchez had to make do with a short walk in front of the cameras – the two had not met previously nor spoken by phone since Biden entered the White House on January 20.
Sanchez´s office said that “the two wanted to greet each other” and “that the greeting would be caught on camera as proof of the excellent relationship that exists between both countries.”