QATAR has agreed to contribute 4.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in Spain as part of the European Union's pandemic recovery funding.
BARCELONA - Qatar promised to invest 4.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in Spain, as the European country begins an economic reform with its share of European Union pandemic recovery cash.
The investments' specifics have not been disclosed, but the Spanish government has indicated that they would help secure the country's energy security and transition to a green economy.
However, with Europe seeking alternatives to Russian energy, Qatar has resorted to a supplier of liquefied natural gas due to its huge gas reserves.
On Wednesday, the emir and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met in Madrid and inked 12 agreements to strengthen mutual ties. The agreements ranged from economics and trade to education, military cooperation, health, and research.
The meeting took place on the second day of the emir's state visit to Spain, including the first-ever Spain-Qatar business conference.
"In the present international environment of Ukraine's war, this new bilateral strategic connection with Qatar becomes even more crucial for Spain for reasons not just of investment but also of energy security," the Spanish government stated.
With six liquified natural gas processing units at its ports, Spain leads Europe. Spain is attempting to become an energy center for Europe in addition to diversifying its energy mix.
The Qatar Investment Body sovereign fund will make the investments, which will be channeled into projects by Spain's public finance authority COFIDES "to locate investment possibilities linked with" the country's objectives for using EU recovery money, according to the Spanish government.
Spain, which received the second-largest EU allocation after Italy, intends to use 70 billion euros ($74 billion) in direct EU funds between 2021 and 2023. It is expected to get an extra 70 billion euros in EU funds between 2023 and 2026.
Spain is implementing a series of big public investment projects funded by the EU's pandemic recovery funds, which the prime minister has compared to a "Marshall Plan for Europe."
The initiatives are intended to stimulate substantial private-sector investments, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and digitization. They include an effort to promote electric vehicles in Spain and the development of green hydrogen as a renewable energy source.
According to the Spanish government, the money from Qatar would "bring a flow of investments into Spain for its programs for a green and digital economy."
Despite severe inflation exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Spain's GDP is forecast to increase by 4% this year.