Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General since 2014, and Pedro Sánchez confirmed the news this week. The summit will be held in Madrid after government leaders agreed to host Spain. “We hope to meet again in Spain in 2022, followed by our meeting in Lithuania,” the leaders said in a statement following Monday’s meeting in Brussels.
Spain’s nomination followed the ultra-brief meeting between Prime Minister Sánchez and US President Joe Biden ahead of the discussion. Much was written in the Spanish media about the few seconds Sánchez and Biden walked together. The American president kept looking straight ahead and hardly seemed to respond to the Spanish prime minister. “I don’t have a timer for how long I’ve met the President of the United States or not,” Sanchez said.
The choice of Spain coincides with the 40th anniversary of the country’s accession to NATO. Spain will host again 25 years after a NATO summit in July 1997. Then, Madrid hosted a meeting of heads of government when José María Aznar ruled the country and Bill Clinton was still president of the United States.
Increase deterrent and defense power
At Monday’s meeting, NATO’s 30 member states decided to start a “new chapter” in the transatlantic relationship. Furthermore, there are guidelines the organisation must follow to have increased its deterrent and defense strength by the year 2030. It identified the now familiar challenges, such as Russia’s “aggressiveness”. But also new ones, such as China’s military rivalry or the need to make greater technological progress together.
The current document on NATO’s Strategic Concept dates from 2010 at the Lisbon Summit. The last summit dealt with issues such as relations with Russia, cyberspace and terrorism, energy security or the creation of an anti-missile shield.
Spanish Prime Minister ‘very happy’
The president of the Spanish government said after the meeting he was “very happy” to “hold this important summit in Madrid.” Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda had proposed Spain host the NATO summit in 2022, after stating that his country aims to host the next in 2023. “I am happy to provide infrastructure and host the next summit, after the one in Spain in 2022,” Nauseda assured, in comments upon arriving at the summit this Monday in Brussels.