BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Qatar committed Wednesday to pouring 4.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion) into Spain to invest in the economic overhaul the European country has launched thanks to its European Union pandemic recovery windfall.
The details of the investments were not made public beyond Spain‘s government saying that they would help guarantee the country’s “energy security” and its transition to a “green economy.”
But with Europe scrambling to find alternatives to Russian energy, Qatar has been looked to a source of liquefied natural gas given its massive gas reserves.
The emir and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met Wednesday in Madrid and signed 12 agreements to solidify stronger bilateral relations. The agreements covered topics ranging from the economy and commerce to education, military cooperation, health and science.
“In the current international context of the conflict in Ukraine, this new bilateral strategic relationship with Qatar becomes even more important for Spain for reasons not only of investment but also energy security,” the Spanish government said in a statement.
The investments will be made by the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign fund and funneled into projects by Spain‘s public finance authority COFIDES “to find investment opportunities aligned with” the country’s plans for using the EU recovery funds, the Spanish government said.
Spain, which received the second-biggest EU allocation behind Italy, plans to deploy 70 billion euros ($74 billion) of direct EU transfers during 2021-23. It is set for an additional 70 billion euros in EU loans between 2023-26.
With a heavy focus on sustainability and digitization, the projects are designed to encourage major private-sector investments. They include a push to promote electric cars in Spain and for the development of green hydrogen as a clean energy source.
Despite rampant inflation made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Spain is still expected to see its economy grow by 4% this year.
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