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Spain Backs UAE for Renewable Energy Agency Headquarters

Anwar Ahmad / 25 May 2009

ABU DHABI — Spain will back UAE’s bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy 
Agency (IRENA), of which Spain is a member, in Abu Dhabi.

Spanish Ambassador to the UAE, Manuel Piñeiro, said, “Spain, a world leader in the field of renewable energies, contemplates with great sympathy the UAE candidature to host the headquarters of Irena.”

The Spanish experience with solar and photovoltaic energies has been taken into account by the UAE authorities, he said. “We have established a good working cooperation between experts of both sides that is mutually benefiting from the exchange of information,’’ Piñeiro said.

He said, “We consider Masdar a remarkable and worthy initiative, which will make a positive impact in world opinion for speeding up the process of more and more nations embracing the future and sustainable energies.”

Masdar is an UAE-owned sustainable project company based in Abu Dhabi

Meanwhile, the Spanish Embassy in Abu Dhabi is also aiming to promote its language among Emiratis and wants to establish Spanish institutes in the UAE on a joint basis, according to the envoy.

In an interview recently he said, “Spanish and UAE governments should join to set up an Instituto Cervantes or Aulas Cervantes both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

The Instituto Cervantes and Aulas Cervantes are worldwide non-profit organisations created by the Spanish government in 1991 and dedicated to the teaching of Spanish language.

The continuous expansion of relations between the UAE and Latin America and the opening of new embassies of Latin American countries in Abu Dhabi are among many others reasons to project a vigorous presence of Spanish language in the UAE, the ambassador said.

Piñeiro said, “Both the UAE and Spain have to make a fresh start in this regard and develop a common effort to ensure the importance that Spanish occupies in the different educational curricula.” Spanish is spoken by around 500 million people in the world and is witnessing continuous growth, Piñeiro went on.

On how many Emiratis pursue higher education in Spain, he said, “We lack reliable statistics, but they have to be few, given the fact that Spanish is not common as a choice of many young students in the UAE nor the teaching is ensured extensively.”

“We export to the UAE vehicles, electric appliances, textiles, fashion and food, while we import from the UAE oil and gas,” he said.

About tourism, he said, “We have to do a lot in tourism to attract Emiratis to visit Spain more and more, and Spanish people come to the UAE.”

“UAE and Spain have to work together to take these relations to new heights. We have many things that link us together. Andalus, is the old name of Spain, where Arab presence dates back to several hundred centuries,” Piñeiro said.

There are 1,415 Spanish expats in the UAE who are registered with the mission. They are engaged in consulting agencies, engineering offices, medical professions, architecture firms, and aeronautical industries.


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