Oct 30, 2019
Annex to Report: Vision on Defence-Related Skills for Europe Today and Tomorrow
Published in: European Commission (2019)
Spain is an important player in European defence, having been a member of the EU and NATO since 1986 and 1992 respectively. Current Spanish defence policy, included in the 2013 National Security Strategy, prioritises addressing migration in the Mediterranean and instability in the Middle East.
Spanish defence expenditure constituted 1 per cent of GDP in 2016, and 0.86 per cent of GDP in2017. At the same time, Spain announced ambitious plans to double defence expenditure to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, and approaches NATO's guideline of investing 20 per cent of defence spending in defence equipment. This presents an opportunity for growth of recruitment, retention and development of defence-related skills in the Spanish DTIB. More than 209,100 professionals are involved in the Spanish defence industry, constituting 1.34 per cent of the country's workforce.
In 2015, Spain's defence industry turnover was €5.89 billion (excluding civil sales), with 83 per cent dedicated to exports. Spain has a long-standing history of designing and manufacturing defence equipment for both domestic and export markets. Established in 1941, following the conclusion of Spain's civil war, the National Industry Institute (INI) was the main player in the Spanish defence industry, producing several big companies that later became prime defence contractors, including elements of the European Aeronautical Defence and Space company (EADS), now known as Airbus Defence and Space, and major Spanish firm Indra. Following the 2008 financial crisis, however, Spanish defence industry sales and turnover declined. These have recently been bolstered due to efforts within the DTIB to focus on defence exports to offset the lack of domestic demand, helping to sustain company turnover. This has primarily benefited internationally competitive firms that are the most active exporters, in a difficult period for local industry. In 2015 the Spanish defence industry invoiced €4.19 billion from exports abroad, compared to €2.3 billion in 2011, thereby nearly doubling its international export sales in four years. Spain accounted for 2.7 per cent of world arms exports in 2013–2017, with ships and multinational aircraft programmes (e.g. Eurofighter Typhoon or A400M) accounting for the majority of exports.