All of Madrid should stay at home

Dhe call is reminiscent of the worst days of the pandemic. The residents of Madrid should stay at home and work in the home office for the next few days. Even the Prado Museum will close for two days. The reason for this is the summit caravan arriving in the heart of the Spanish capital this Tuesday from Elmau in Upper Bavaria, led by American President Joe Biden.

The NATO summit meeting begins on Tuesday evening with a celebratory dinner in the royal palace. On Wednesday, the summit deliberations begin in the exhibition center on the outskirts of town. But most of the 40 delegations are staying in the luxury hotels in the city center on Castellano Boulevard, which, like other important roads, will be closed again and again. This could not only bring traffic to a standstill in the center, because state guests also have the right of way on the motorways that lead to the airport of Torrejón de Ardoz, where government planes land. “It will be very complicated days. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote the city of Madrid, but the capital will be practically blocked,” said the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida.

The American president in particular, who flies directly from Munich to Madrid in the afternoon with Air Force One, needs a lot of space on the streets. But he is said to be more modest on the road than he was last time in Rome: his convoy will not consist of a good 80, but only a good 50 vehicles. King Felipe will welcome him at the airport; First Lady Jill Biden had traveled ahead of him on Sunday evening.

Fighter planes are ready to take off

A total of 10,000 police officers will protect the 40 heads of state and government and the approximately 5,000 participants at the summit. The police action during the summit in the shadow of the Ukraine war is named after Eirene, the goddess who brings peace in Greek mythology. Several NATO AWACS aircraft will secure the airspace over Madrid. Fighter planes are ready for take-off, anti-aircraft and anti-drone defenses are operational. They have also prepared for a cyber attack that could threaten from Russia. According to the Interior Ministry, this is the largest security operation in recent history in Spain. The government is spending a total of 50 million euros for the meeting – a “considerable investment”, which, however, brings with it “enormous benefits” because it strengthens Spain’s reputation as a tourist destination, according to the government.

The pictures from the two dinners in the Royal Palace and in the Prado Museum will contribute to this. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is giving a “Transatlantic Dinner” there on Wednesday. His guests will not dine under the pictures in the gallery, but in the reconstructed cloister of the adjoining new building. Queen Letizia has been taking care of the partners of the heads of state and government since Monday. At first she only visited a cancer aid organization with Jill Biden, on Tuesday a reception center for Ukrainian refugees was on the program. A trip to La Granja de San Ildefonso near Segovia is planned with everyone else on Wednesday. The late baroque castle with its fountains was once the summer residence of kings. After lunch in Madrid you will visit Picasso’s “Guernica” painting. On Wednesday we go to a rehearsal of Verdi’s “Nabucco” in the Teatro Real. A tasting of olive oils is also planned in the Opera House opposite the Royal Palace – and a lecture on the Mediterranean diet.


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