The Spanish press is full of jokes and laughs about the half-minute walk that US President Joe Biden had with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez after the family photo at the NATO summit. A more than brief meeting that Sánchez’s advisers – always predisposed to propaganda – had ‘sold’ as a sign of the good relationship between the two countries.
The most critical newspapers talk of contempt for Spain. They flag that when you have had in government a vice-president – Pablo Iglesias – who has financed himself from the Iranian and Venezuelan regimes, and who has sat on the Commission which oversees Spain’s intelligence agency CNI, that is the most that a Spanish PM can expect from the US.
The pro-Sánchez newspapers (in Spain the press monitors and criticises power until it falls into the hands of its friendly party) remind us that in 2022 the NATO summit will be held in Spain. That said, they try not to emphasise the fact that this summit was agreed by former Prime Minister Rajoy and was scheduled for 2019. But Covid forced it to be postponed.
The fact is you will not find a single line in the Spanish press about the unusual fact that the bilateral defence agreement between Spain and the US, which places the Spanish bases at Rota and Morón at the disposal of the US, expired last month. However, it was automatically extended for another year, due to the indifference of Washington and Madrid, which preferred the automatic extension to having to sit down and talk about renewing the agreement.
The 1988 agreement was amended in 2002, 2012 and 2015 and its automatic extension is just another symptom of the current level of relations.