The protocol for NATO never included the assistance of any minister apart from Defense and Foreign Affairs

It was a sterile controversy fed by the media and also by the Government itself: the supposed participation of the ministers of United We Can in the NATO summit that Madrid will host on June 28, 29 and 30. Moncloa did not contemplate the attendance of any member of the Executive apart from Pedro Sánchez and the Ministers of Defense, Margarita Robles; and Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who are responsible for the theme of the Atlantic alliance, which aims to update its strategic concept, although it will be marked by Russia's war against Ukraine. In fact, the great unknown is whether President Volodímir Zelensky will travel to the Spanish capital or will intervene telematically.

Jusapol policemen plan five anti-government demonstrations before and during the NATO summit

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For Pedro Sánchez, the summit is a milestone marked in red on the calendar since NATO chose Madrid as its venue approximately a year ago. Since then, Moncloa, Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Royal House, in addition to the Ministry of the Interior, for the development of security, as well as the City Council and the Community of Madrid, have worked to organize the event that will take place mainly in three pavilions of Ifema that represent a space of 50,000 square meters (about five times the Santiago Bernabeu stadium).

That is why in the socialist wing of the cabinet it felt bad that United We Can attacked the summit, especially for pointing out the 35 million euro contract planned for the implementation of the device that will also be distributed in parallel events at the Royal Palace and the Museum del Prado and will even reach La Granja (Segovia), where the leaders' companions (husbands or wives led by Queen Letizia) will visit the Royal Site of San Ildefonso and the Royal Glass Factory, among other cultural activities.

The controversy escalated in the media after the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, did not attend the commemorative event for the 40th anniversary of Spain's entry into NATO, which was held at the Teatro Real. The also Minister of Labor publicly excused herself on the grounds that she agreed with some medical tests. On that occasion she was invited because Moncloa decided that the members of the National Security Council should attend, but the debate quickly opened up since her own team questioned her going to the summit.

“The ministers involved are those who participate”

The head of Social Rights and leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, rejected her participation in any event linked to the militarist organization and Moncloa did not then avoid the discrepancy despite the fact that it was not planned that other ministers apart from Robles and Albares would participate, according to government sources explain. These sources now maintain that "it does not make sense" for ministers whose functions have nothing to do with defense and security to participate, which are the axes that pivot on NATO. But when the controversy broke out, Moncloa left the door open for ministers who are part of the National Security Council or who could attend the events to be held in parallel to the summit itself to be invited.

"As soon as we know the agendas, from now on, we will communicate them to you, as we rigorously do every day," Diaz replied at the press conference after the Council of Ministers after not attending the anniversary ceremony. “Whether or not I will attend the summit, the Government will organize, it is an event of great importance, where there will not only be formal meetings, but a whole series of acts that accompany that celebration and, of course, I will be where we determine with the agendas , different criteria are followed, depending on the forums, and we are at the disposal of the Government, and in this case the President of the Government, who is the one who leads foreign policy in our country”, was the response given by the spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, on that same line. Diaz recently said that she thought she was not going to be invited: "But I assume what is there and everyone is institutional when they hold positions of responsibility."

In Moncloa they do open the door for the third vice-president, Teresa Ribera, to participate in a forum on public diplomacy organized by the Elcano Institute, given that climate change is one of the elements that form part of the concerns of the Atlantic alliance, but in attendance is not confirmed at this time.

10,000 troops deployed in Operation Eirene

Several departments have been immersed in the preparations, especially the Ministry of the Interior for the launch of what they consider to be the most important security device in recent history. Madrid will be armored from the days before the summit with the so-called Operation Eirene (for the Greek goddess who brings peace), which will mobilize a total of 10,000 troops (6,500 national police and 2,400 civil guards, as well as municipal police, firefighters and emergencies, security personnel from Zarzuela, the Presidency of the Government and private security).

There will be a Security and Emergency Coordination Center (CECOR) operating 24 hours in Ifema, from at least June 27, in which there will be representation of the State Security Forces and Bodies, in addition to the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime, the CNI, diplomatic security, the Ministry of Defense (which is in charge of the airspace security plan, apart from the National Police's anti-drone system), civil protection, and the NATO security office, among others. Another CECOR is being prepared at a different point in Madrid. However, it has been decided to maintain alert level 4 without going to 5.

"The summit may be held in a framework of tranquility and public peace with the alterations that are required for the free development of citizen life," they point out in Interior, where they deny having detected any "special issue" that has "forced to increase concern and occupation” regarding security due to the possible appearance of radical groups. For now, demonstrations by the Jusapol police group have been announced.. Beyond the physical security of the people of Madrid and the 5,000 people who are expected to participate in the summit delegations, "a special cybersecurity device piloted by the Cybernetic Coordination Office and with the National Cryptologic Center has been developed, in addition to of the cybersecurity capabilities that the Madrid trade fair institute has”, point out sources from the department headed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

The Ministry of Culture has also participated -with regard to the cultural activities of the spouses program or the planned dinner at the Prado Museum, which will close two days beforehand-, the Ministry of Agriculture -which will provide a gift to the delegations– or Transport for travel logistics and what affects Barajas airport.

Preparations for a Sánchez-Biden meeting not yet closed

The program, which is very advanced although not completely closed, includes a dinner the day before at the Royal Palace presided over by the king and queen, which will be attended by the heads of state and government of the 30 countries that are part of NATO, in addition to the secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, and the guests, among them, Sweden and Finland, who have requested their entry, or the four partners from Asia-Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea).

The following day the central moment of the summit will take place in Ifema and in the evening Sánchez will host a "Euro-Atlantic dinner" in the Prado Museum. The intention is that, in addition to the allies, representatives of the EU will participate, such as the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, Ursula Von der Leyen and Charles Michel, respectively, as well as the presidents of the European countries that do not form part of NATO (Austria, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden). In parallel, there will be a dinner for foreign and defense ministers. Another room, also significant, will be set up for couples.

On June 30, the summit is scheduled to end with the press conference of the secretary general and, later, of the rest of the leaders. During those days, Sánchez is expected to hold bilateral meetings both in Ifema and in Moncloa. In his team they also work for a meeting with the president of the United States, Joe Biden, but it is not yet closed.

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