Today's Official State Gazette (OSG or Boletín Oficial del Estado, BOE, in Spanish) includes the budgetary execution at July 31st, i.e. the difference between the figures budgeted for and approved by the Courts, and the actual spending of each ministry. Yet again, the Ministry of Defense' financial accounts have increased greatly throughout the year and now exceed forecasts by over €1.1billion. This is despite the fact that the allocated budget was already €2bn greater than in 2016.

Thus, although €7,639 million was budgeted - compared to the €5,788 of the previous year - credits already amount to over €8.8bn, some €1.16bn extra. Total expenditure at July 31st is close to the highest figure of recent years - namely 2012 - when final spending reached €9bn.

Defense budget execution

Millions of euros. The data for 2017 is at July 31.

This swelling of budgets, which occurs year in, year out, has come about even without appropriations, a system used in recent financial years which had injected billions of extra euros throughout the summer, via Executive Order, for the payment of special weapons programs, and which was overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2016.

In its ruling, which responds to an appeal filed by several parliamentary groups (PSOE, IU, ICV, CHA and UPyD) againstthe appropriationof 2014, the Constitutional Court considered that the use of Royal Executive Order to approve these payments is not justified and nullified the decision. Note however that there was no reversal on the transfers of funds already made, or those of previous budgets (2014 and 2015).

Thus, in 2016 the Government was unable to approve this appropriation, and postponed the payment of €717 million - allocated to cover the costs of modernization programs for Armed Forces - until 2017. Hence, the preliminary 2017 budget includes - after many years of being hidden within the approval of the General State Budget - a forecast of the cost of these special programs: some €1.8bn for the postponed payments of 2016 together with those of 2017.

Although these costs were already factored into the initial budgets, and the amount allocated to Defense for this year has already increased by some two billion euros, final expenditure continues to swell, as in previous years. At the moment, and up to July 31st, €1.16 billion extra. In 2016, the year closed withalmost €1.4 billion more than was budgeted for.