The Basque Country and Qatar will create a working committee to “specify” the projects in which they will collaborate
The Ministry of Industry will take charge of this task as soon as the Basque delegation returns from its official trip to the Persian Gulf, which concludes tomorrow
The working committee involving the Basque Government's Ministry of Industry and the corresponding Ministry in Qatar will commence work immediately, analysing the areas of action and the "specific projects" in which the Basque Country and Qatar might collaborate. This is the first step in a relationship that has commenced well, with the Qatari authorities showing a great deal of receptivity. The Lehendakari, Patxi López, has explained that both Sheikha Moat Bint Nasser Al Missned and the Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al Thani, have expressed their desire to begin collaborating with the Basque Country immediately, mainly in the areas of biotechnology, renewable energies, education and health and also in the field of anti-terrorism, with a view to the organisation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In what ways can we collaborate with the Basque Country? That was the question with which Sheikha Moat Bint Nasser Al Missned, the wife of the Emir of Qatar, began her meeting with the Lehendakari, Patxi López. The meeting is a further example of the positive feeling that this business mission to the Persian Gulf has engendered in the Basque delegation. These feelings and desires are now beginning to manifest themselves in a more concrete fashion, as both governments have decided to create a bilateral working committee for the purposes of defining and "specifying" the areas and projects in which the Basque Country and Qatar might collaborate. "As soon as we return to the Basque Country, this committee will get down to work", asserted the Lehendakari.
The Basque delegation, which is headed by the Lehendakari, Patxi López, has met with the Qatari Minister of the Interior, the wife of the Emir (Sheikha Moat Bint Nasser Al Missned, who is also the president of the Qatar Foundation), the Heir Apparent and the head of Qatari Diar, which is a major urban development and sustainability project in the country. The meetings have also been attended by Bernabé Unda, the Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, and Guillermo Echenique, the General Secretary for Overseas Action.
Collaboration between the Basque Country and Qatar has taken a significant first step after the meeting with the Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who has expressed to the Lehendakari his desire for the contact to move beyond the goodwill of speeches and to take concrete steps as soon as possible. One of the fruits of this meeting was the working committee, involving the Basque Government's Ministry of Industry and the corresponding Ministry in Qatar, which will be responsible for defining and planning the areas in which collaboration can take place and the projects that are developed as a result. Furthermore, the Emir has informed the Lehendakari of Qatar's interest in renewable energies and projects in the field of sustainability, education, health and biotechnology. "We are talking about significant investment of resources, and about projects we would like to set up in the Basque Country", he said.
Before seeing the Emir, the Lehendakari had a meeting with Sheikha Moat Bint Nasser Al Missned, the Emir's wife and president of the Qatar Foundation. The Sheikha, who expressed her interest in the Bilbao centre for the European Spallation Source facility, is also the head of Qatar's Education City and of the Science and Technology Park, explaining her interest in the operation of the Basque technology centres that the CEO of Qatar's Science City will visit soon.
Science City will shortly award the contract for the construction of a tram system in the city, in which the Basque company CAF is one of the bidders. Besides participating in the bidding process, CAF representatives also took the opportunity to present the Sheikha with a special report pertaining to the project.
Moreover, Sheikha Moat Bint Nasser Al Missned offered the opportunity to set up an exchange program for university students, including a grant to cover the students' costs in the Basque Country. The Basque Government and the University of Deusto will begin implementing the program when the business mission ends.
Terrorism at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
The final meeting of the day focused on Qatari Diar, a "major urban development and sustainability project that goes beyond accumulating buildings and lines on a map, instead presenting extraordinary development opportunities that Basque companies may be able to participate in", according to the Lehendakari.
This coming March, a number of Basque companies will participate in a conference on "green industry" to be held in Qatar, and have also been invited to another conference in October regarding the country's rail network. The project is worth an estimated US$ 30,000,000,000, and up to 2040 will account for US$ 88,000,000,000.
International terrorism and ETA are subjects that were also on the agenda during this morning's meetings; specifically during the Lehendakari's meeting with the Qatari Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani. The selection of Qatar as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has encouraged the country to collaborate with the Basque Country and hear about its experiences regarding the issue of terrorism and meetings to examine the subject are planned between government officials from both countries.