Scholz tells Milei that his reforms needs to be suitable with social cohesion | International | EUROtoday

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A quick assembly, lasting simply an hour, with pictures of the greeting between the 2, and an excellent briefer press launch to inform in broad strokes what the 2 leaders talked about. This is how Berlin has dealt with the controversial first assembly between the Argentine president, Javier Milei, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz. According to that word, made public shortly after the Argentine's departure, Scholz spoke of the impression of the reform plans that Milei has undertaken in his nation and “underlined” that “social compatibility and the protection of social cohesion must be points of outstanding references”.

It is the only phrase in which a veiled criticism of Milei's policies can be interpreted, who this Sunday met for the first time with a social democratic head of government in the six months since he took office as president of Argentina. The meeting was official in nature, but its format did not correspond to that which Berlin usually dedicates to foreign leaders who visit the Chancellery. Normally, the reception includes military honors, a bilateral meeting (face to face) and a subsequent press conference.

And that was the initial plan, until a few days before the Argentine Government asked to modify the agenda. Berlin has made it clear that the change was due to the wish of Milei, who wanted to avoid answering questions from German journalists and foreign correspondents with the chancellor. “This is a very brief working meeting and at the request – and I say this explicitly – of the Argentine president,” stressed the Executive spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, who added: “I have learned that he has given very few or no press conferences. since he took office, so in the end we agreed to this request.”

Milei's German journey began on Saturday in Hamburg, where the president received a medal from the controversial Hayek Society, which defines itself as liberal and a continuator of the thought of the famous Austrian economist, but which has prominent members of the far-right Alternative for Germany ( AfD). In his speech he avoided talking about Germany or its leader, and limited himself to defending what he considers to be his economic achievements in Argentina since he has been president. He did charge in a generic way against the “socialists” who, he said, attack him “so violently” because their recipe for radical adjustment is working and the Argentine economy is beginning to recover, according to the Efe agency.

In both Hamburg and Berlin, Argentine residents have organized protests against Milei. In the Hanseatic city, about 200 people gathered in front of their hotel with signs such as “No to the military junta”, in Spanish, and “No to Milei in Hamburg”, written in German. In Berlin, shouts (“Out Milei”) against the Argentine president were heard in the background as he got out of the car and Scholz greeted him with a handshake.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the leaders spoke about very diverse issues, including the economy, trade, renewable energies and global climate protection. Argentina is one of Germany's most important economic partners in Latin America, and has raw materials, such as lithium, that Berlin urgently needs to undertake its ecological transition. The leaders also spoke about the free trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries and agreed that the negotiations should be concluded quickly, the note states. “There was also talk of Argentina's possible accession to the OECD. The German Government supports this effort,” he adds.

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The Foreign Ministry also mentions the war in Ukraine as one of the prominent topics of the meeting. Both leaders participated in the peace summit held in Switzerland. “In the conversations held right now, each additionally agreed that Russia has it in its energy to finish the warfare of aggression in opposition to Ukraine,” the statement said.

The German media had anticipated that Milei's visit was going to be, to say the least, uncomfortable for Scholz. The two politicians are at ideological opposites and the diplomatic conflict with Spain remains open after the Argentine insulted the wife of President Pedro Sánchez. German journalists have asked Scholz's spokesman on several occasions if the chancellor intended to talk to Milei about his insults to another head of government. The spokesperson this week called his words “unpleasant.”

“The Disturbing Guest” stands out, for example, on the cover of its weekend edition of the Berlin newspaper. Daily Mirror, which points out that Milei has become a star for the “new right” and describes him as “Donald Trump of South America.” He too Frankfurter Allgemeine It dedicated a space to him on its paper cover with the title “The provocateur.”

Milei's visit had also generated concern in the ranks of the social democrats of the SPD and its government partner, the Greens. The foreign spokesperson for this formation in the Bundestag, Deborah Düring, assured the public broadcaster ARD that Milei is “diametrically opposed to our policies and values.” Referring to Berlin's interest in Argentine lithium, she added: “Commodity interests should never take precedence over our values, such as the issue of human rights and environmental standards.” Also the Social Democratic spokesperson for foreign policy, Nils Schmid, spoke of his “great concern” about the situation in Argentina and anticipated that the relationship between both countries under Milei's presidency will not be easy.

Before traveling to Germany, Milei passed through Madrid, where she received the medal of the Community of Madrid from the president of this community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. This week the Argentine president once again attacked the Government of Pedro Sánchez. “He is advancing freedom of expression, it is clear that it is the Maduro model that he is applying,” said the Argentine president about Sánchez in his last television interview, in which he once again described him as a “coward.” .

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