Spanish troops distribute school supplies in the region of Kashmir (Pakistan), in the first NATO humanitarian mission led by Spain
Spain and NATO
Since joining NATO in 1982, Spanish foreign policy actively promotes the strengthening of the transatlantic link, which is fundamental to Spanish security.

Spain became the 16th member of NATO on 30 May 1992, and in March 1986, after a consultative referendum which resulted in a victory of the option to remain within it, it started to participate in all the committees and working groups, with the exception of the military structure. The Spain's full accession to the alliance's integrated military structure took place on 1 January 1999; however, its General Headquarters were not fully operational until the September.

For more than 35 years, Spain has been a reliable, loyal and committed ally of the Atlantic Alliance, and is actively engaged in political dialogue, in the development of the allies' defence capacities and the Alliance's operations. It has always been as such, even at times of budget austerity. Spain is the 7th largest contributor to the common budget of the Atlantic Alliance, and Spain's defence budget is the 8th highest in absolute terms among its allies.

Alejandro Alvargonzález, a Spanish Member of the Diplomatic Corps, is currently Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO's "number-three man", after the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General. Other Spaniards to have held prominent positions in NATO were Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General from 1995 to 1999 and General Juan Antonio Martínez Esparza, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Security Investment, Logistics and Civil Emergency Planning in 2001 and Assistant Secretary General for Executive Management from 2003.

Spain is one of the countries that has made the greatest effort both in the Eastern and Southern flanks, to ensure that NATO is able to respond better to challenges and threats, regardless of their origin and location. Spain provides a number of high-quality military capabilities, and is one of the allies with the largest presence in international missions.

Spain's Political Objectives and Contribution to NATO

Relations between Spain and NATO and the other allies are good. From the point of view of foreign policy, Spain works in the Atlantic Council to ensure that its interests are taken into account, especially regarding the Southern Flank.

Spain combines its action in NATO with active involvement in the Common security and defence policy (CSDP), within the framework of the European Union . As highlighted by the EU Treaty of Lisbon, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation. The 21st century alliance, as stated through successive Summits, is still one of the pillars of Spain's and Europe's security structure. Spain welcomes the dialogue and practical cooperation that have taken place in the past between NATO and the EU, and the Spanish Government encourages maintenance of the efforts in that sense, and highlights above all that the more we can reinforce the Union's security and defence scope, the better we will be reinforcing NATO and its European pillar.

The Atlantic Alliance has undergone an evolution and transformation process during the 21st century. All this transformation process of the Alliance has had a major impact in the scope of the capabilities of the Organisation, a sector in which Spain has played a relevant role. Hence, in November 2006, the Riga Summit declared the full operational capacity of the NATO Rapid Response Force (NRF10), in which Spain has participated in different rotations.

Furthermore, Spain is currently providing NATO with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Centre of Excellence, located at Hoyo de Manzanares (Madrid) and the Rapid Deployable Corps in Bétera (Valencia), which comprises an International Military Staff structure and is authorised to carry out its duties as General Headquarters of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps. Spain makes these General Headquarters available to NATO on a permanent basis. We must point out the Spanish contribution to the NATO Ballistic Missile Defence System de la OTAN, with four US AEGIS destroyers deployed in the Naval Station Rota.

On the other hand, with regard the capacities, a renewed Alliance is aimed to be achieved with forces capable of taking on and dealing with missions entrusted to NATO in a context of global economic recession. Multinational cooperation in long-term strategic projects continues to advance. In this framework of streamlining resources, improving efficiency and making financial savings, it should be noted that one of the two Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) of the New Command Structure is located in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid).

The Strategic Concept adopted in the 2010 Lisbon Summit reinforced NATO's role in crisis management, in synergy with other international actors. Without prejudice to its fundamental role in the defence of Europe and in the stability of the Balkans, NATO also works outside of the European-Atlantic area in Afghanistan (Resolute Support Operation) and Spain contributes to said work.

A In addition to the scope of the Alliance, new risks and threats make it increasingly more necessary to work together. Hence, the need to work on cooperative security, frameworks, which are most clearly seen by means of Partnerships. These partnership relations have been portrayed in different forums and frameworks: the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC); the NATO-Russia Council (NRC); the Mediterranean Dialogue with countries on the southern rim of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco Mauritania and Tunisia), in which Spain has been one of the key drivers; the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with countries on the Persian Gulf (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates); the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the NATO-Georgia Commission, all of which are forums which Spain supports and in which it actively participates. These partnerships represent an element of important growth, both for the creation of strength and, above all, in order to provide mutual responses to mutual problems.

In the year 2017, Spain was involved in the following NATO operations and missions, covering air, sea and land, thus demonstrating Spain's commitment and solidarity to the Alliance, allies and partners:
- In Turkey, by means of a Patriot anti-ballistic missile deployment and more than 140 troops.
- In Latvia, in the Enhanced Forward Presence, making up part of the battalion led by Canada, providing land resources with a great capacity.
- The Baltic Air-Policing Mission.
- In the Resolute Support Operation in Afghanistan.
- In NATO's Standing Naval Forces.
- In the Sea Guardian Operation in the Mediterranean.


More information 

Permanent Representation of Spain to NATO


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