MADRID — Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest in Spanish projects funded by European Union COVID recovery funds under a deal due to be signed during the Gulf state ruler’s visit to Madrid this week, Spanish government sources said on Tuesday.
The bilateral deal represents the first major agreement between a European nation and a non-EU country aimed at leveraging the reach of the EU’s Next Generation program, from which Spain will receive €70 billion euros ($73.33 billion).
It is expected to be signed on Wednesday between the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Spain’s investment agency Cofides during Emir Shekih Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s visit to the Spanish capital, one of the sources said. The investments in sustainability and digitalisation projects are due to be implemented within two to three years, according to that person.
“QIA has a budget that is practically 40% of Spain’s GDP… their investments are very concentrated in Asia and they want to invest more in Europe,” said the source, without providing specific figures.
ENERGY HUB AMBITIONS
Spain wants to increase Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports from Qatar in order to guarantee the gas supply, the source said. The Mediterranean nation has spare LNG terminal capacity and the most LNG regasification plants in Europe and aims to position itself as a gas supply hub for EU nations seeking to reduce their energy dependence on Russia.
In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended supply and demand worldwide, LNG from Qatar – currently the world’s biggest exporter – accounted for 11% of Spain’s gas imports. Since then…
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