The PM, King Felipe and Nato's Secretary General on Monday. / EFE

Spain marks 40 years since joining Nato

Some coalition ministers with an anti-military stance did not attend the event in Madrid

SUR MADRID.

An official ceremony was held in Madrid on Monday this week to mark 40 years since Spain joined Nato. It came a month before Madrid hosts a full Nato leaders' summit and amid rising differences between the political parties of the ruling coalition over the role of the defence alliance in Spanish life.

To mark the 40th anniversary, an event was held for 300 people at the capital's Teatro Real followed by lunch at the nearby Palacio Real.

Dignitaries and officials were in attendance, including Secretary General of Nato Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe.

The PM confirmed at the event that Spain would be increasing its spending on Nato. "It is an essential effort," he said.

The junior partners in Sánchez's ruling coalition, left-wing Unidas Podemos, are known to be unhappy about the move and their representatives did not attend. "If it were a choice between tanks and machine guns and more teachers, we are clear which we would choose," said a Podemos spokesperson.