North African military potential puts Spain in a “dangerous position,” Vox’s party leader stressed.
Rabat – Spain’s far-right Vox party on Tuesday called for an urgent increase in the European country’s military spending in the face of “potential threats” from Morocco and Algeria.
Vox party leader Santiago Abascal said Morocco and Algeria’s increased military spending puts Spain in a “critical” and “chilling” situation, according to The Olive Press. He suggested that Spain increase its defense budget by 2%.
Morocco’s 2021 Finance Bill allows for up to $12.13 billion in military spending.
Morocco’s arms purchases this year include 25 F-16 aircraft and associated equipment worth $3.8 billion, along with upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16 fighter jets for $985 million. The US State Department also approved the sale of 36 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment to Morocco for an estimated $4.25 billion.
Recently, in March 2020, Morocco signed a military contract with the US army to purchase 25 armored vehicles for $240 million.
Spain must match the developments across the Strait of Gibraltar, according to Vox’s Abascal.
He urged Spain’s Ministry of Defense to acquire 200 AGM-158C air-to-ground missiles compatible with Spain’s fighter jets. At a cost $1.2 of million per unit, the purchase would require a $240 million investment.
Abascal also called for immediate upgrades to its submarine fleet and the replacement of the military aircraft stationed at the Canary Islands.
He said Morocco’s newly increased military potential puts Spain in a “dangerous position” should it ever enter into conflict with its North African neighbor.
The Vox leader added that Spain’s military power in southern Europe is under threat and requires urgent action to maintain the country’s position as an important figure in EU defense.
Vox made a similar fear-mongering call in August, presenting a “non-law” proposal at the Congress of Deputies urging a vote to push the government to increase its defense spending.
Morocco’s army is “among the most numerous and modern in Africa,” the party argued, citing its 200,000 soldiers and a 50% increase in defense spending over the past 10 years.
The party argued that military gains in Morocco as well as Algeria require Spain to be vigilant and develop stronger ties with the US.
Abascal said in August that the growing relationship between Morocco and the US could be game-changing for the North African country “in the event of a conflict with neighboring nations or to claim sovereignty over territories or seas close to Morocco,” referring to the Canary Islands.