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Qatar to invest $5 bln in Spain’s EU-funded recovery, Emir says

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Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and his wife Sheikha Jawaher bint Hamad bin Suhaim Al-Thani pose with Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia during their visit at Zarzuela Palace, Madrid, Spain May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Isabel Infantes

Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $5 billion in Spanish projects, the Gulf state’s ruler said late on Tuesday in a dinner held in his honour in Madrid.

The amount shows how confident Qatar is in the Spanish economy’s strength, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in a speech during a dinner held in King Felipe’s Palace in Madrid, a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatar’s ruler, who is visiting Spain this week, is expected to sign a bilateral agreement with Spain to invest in the projects funded by the European Union COVID recovery funds, the first such agreements between a member state and a non-EU country.

The investments, mainly in sustainability and digitalisation projects, are due to be implemented within two to three years, according to that person, government sources told Reuters.

Spain, the main receiver of EU funds, with a total 140 billion euros ($147.53 billion), about half of its in grants, is scrambling to get support from private and foreign investors to speed up the recovery from the record 11 per cent contraction it suffered in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

As part of efforts to lift up its economy, Spain wants to build up an energy hub around Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports and re-export terminals. The country has spare LNG capacity and aims to position a supply hub for the EU nations seeking to reduce their dependence on Russia.

Spain though still lacks re-export capacity to the north to live up to its hub ambitions.

The energy hub project would require more imports from Qatar, which currently exports 77 million tonnes of LNG per year but aims to reach 126 million tonnes by 2027.

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