Spanish ministries spend millions for NATO summit without public tender

by Lorraine Williamson
NATO summit security spend

The Spanish Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Albares) and Internal Affairs (Marlaska) are allocating more than €37 million spend to the organisation of the NATO Summit to be held in Madrid on 29 and 30 June. Furthermore, no public tenders will be issued for this. 

The Atlantic Alliance Summit was agreed upon between Pedro Sánchez and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at a meeting in Moncloa. Sánchez guaranteed ‘to use all of Spain’s opportunities to hold this summit. And to do everything possible to make it a success’.  

Logistical challenge 

The event coincides with the 40th anniversary of Spain’s accession to NATO. And, furthermore, according to government documents, will be ‘a great logistical challenge. This is due to the presence of the Heads of State and Government and delegations of member states in Madrid’. Therefore, ‘security will be one of the most sensitive and important issues’.  

High cost 

The costs of some 37 million euros will be incurred from the assembly of the premises for the event, which will take place in Madrid’s Ifema exhibition centre, to the audio visual support, the catering, the signage, the electrical structure, the staff and the cleaning. And, of course, for the security arrangements.  

The Ministry of the Interior will purchase 6,000 bump stocks to be used by police officers entrusted with additional security duties.  This is being done without a public tender. According to the ministry, ‘various organisations and social groups have already announced protests’. Furthermore, this is stated in a report seen by news site 

Security and demands 

The summit will be led and supervised by NATO personnel. However, everything else – security, choice of venue, set-up, etc. – is the responsibility of the host country, Spain. Therefore, NATO has sent the Spanish government a document on the ‘division of responsibilities and main requirements’. The document contains a specific annex on security, mentioning the ‘guidelines for security arrangements for NATO secret meetings outside headquarters’. This is the basis for the reports prepared by Pedro Sánchez’s government on the organisational needs of the summit, with a view to awarding contracts.  

According to the government, ‘the security of the event will be one of the most sensitive and important issues’. And for this reason, it warns that ‘several organisations and civil society groups have already announced protests, as has happened at previous summits’. 

50 participants 

Such a summit requires extensive security arrangements. Some 50 countries will participate. NATO consists of 30 states, however, NATO allies have also been invited – each with its own delegation. Heads of state such as Joe Biden of the United States and the prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy will be in Madrid. Ukraine is one of the invited external countries. Some 2,000 journalists are expected. 

Reports from ministries  

As the documents consulted by this newspaper state, the amounts the government is considering for each area have been ‘estimated’. However, it is stressed that ‘the total award from Foreign Affairs cannot exceed €36 million’. The procedure for awarding them will be carried out ‘expeditiously’. Companies that want to bid for the contracts will have to prepare and submit their bids via the public sector tendering platform (Plataforma de Contratación del Sector Público). 

The Interior Ministry has also issued a technical report on ‘security conditions required by NATO’. According to the department, headed by Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska, the national police are responsible for the security and must therefore ‘establish a comprehensive security system. This covers not only the location of the meetings but also the movements and all the places where the delegations from the various countries that will be attending the meetings will be staying’. 

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