It is “imperative” that Spain maintains its military superiority in the Western Mediterranean, Vox argued.
The party believes Spain should increase its defense spending to 2% of its GDP, Europa Press reported on August 2.
Vox presented a “non-law” proposal at the Congress of Deputies, urging a vote to push the government to increase its defense spending and draw up comparative reports of the Spanish, Moroccan, and Algerian militaries.
The Spanish party defended its call by underlining Morocco’s decision to invest in new arms and tanks from its largest supplier, the US.
Morocco’s military growth
Vox argued that Morocco has “considerably” increased its military capacities.
With nearly 200,000 soldiers and a 50% increase in defense spending over the past decade, Morocco’s army is “among the most numerous and modern in Africa.”
The 2020 Finance Bill in Morocco increased the budget for national defense by nearly 30%, from MAD 35.155 billion ($3.75 billion) to MAD 45.438 billion ($4.84 billion).
The decision is within the framework of Morocco’s approach to continue to reinforce its military personnel and equipment.
Algeria has also pursued a “rearmament process,” Vox continued. In particular, Algeria’s navy has taken “a qualitative leap in its deterrence capacity.”
For Vox, military gains in Morocco and Algeria require Spain to be vigilant and seek stronger cooperation with the US.
Vox’s frustration with US-Morocco ties
Vox leader Santiago Abascal warned that Morocco’s growing relationship with the US could be “key to securing support in the event of a conflict with neighboring nations or to claim sovereignty over territories or seas close to Morocco.”
He added that the US benefits from close cooperation with Morocco, as the North African country is a “very reliable” partner to support American interests in Africa.
The party also shared concerns about the Canary Islands. Vox recalled how a US military base began operating in 2018 in Morocco’s Tan-Tan, 300 kilometers from the Spanish Canary Islands.
“It does not escape anyone that a large base in southern Morocco will allow the Pentagon to achieve strategic objectives of vital importance to its interests,” Abascal argued.
US objectives in Morocco include the monitoring of terrorist organizations. The US is also interested in North African energy companies and the gas pipeline network that crosses the Sahara and Sahel, Vox claimed.
Vox’s call to reinforce Spain-US ties
Vox condemned the Spanish government’s more relaxed attitude towards its relationship with the US.
The Spanish government’s approach to developing ties with the US is not “the most appropriate,” Vox claimed. The party argued that Spain-US ties are at their worst “since the unilateral withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2004.”
The Vox party leader recognized that Algeria and Morocco have the right to increase their military capacities and improve bilateral ties with the US, but it is “imperative” that Spain maintains its military superiority in the Western Mediterranean.
“In summary, the Spanish government must redirect its efforts to [improve] the relationship with the United States of America, fulfilling the commitments made and maintaining the image and reputation as a reliable ally,” Vox argued.
Vox’s ongoing animosity towards Morocco
The Spanish far-right political party has been focusing on Morocco’s moves closely in recent years, and its calls against Morocco’s interests have multiplied.
The latest demand in a long line up was for the Spanish government to “stop Morocco from annexing Ceuta and Melilla.”
“We demand that the government clarify whether it plans to give into pressure from Morocco and allow Ceuta and Melilla to become an annex of the neighboring country,” the party said in June.
In May, tension increased in the Spanish Parliament, with Vox calling on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet to act against Morocco’s economic “siege and strangulation of Ceuta.”