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Montevideo, October 23rd 2018 - 23:10 UTC

Macri confirms gradualist approach to economic reforms in speech to Congress

Saturday, March 3rd 2018 - 10:23 UTC
Full article 7 comments
“They ask us for a shock adjustment, and to them I say we came here to reduce poverty and make sure that no Argentine goes hungry,” Macri told a full house “They ask us for a shock adjustment, and to them I say we came here to reduce poverty and make sure that no Argentine goes hungry,” Macri told a full house

In his speech to Congress marking the opening of this year’s legislative session, Argentine president Mauricio Macri defended his business-friendly government’s so-called “gradualist” approach to economic reforms from critics who argue he should move faster to cut government spending and lower taxes in order to boost growth and attract investment.

“They ask us for a shock adjustment, and to them I say we came here to reduce poverty and make sure that no Argentine goes hungry,” Macri told a full house in Congress. “That’s why we chose the path of ‘gradualist’ change.”

Since taking office in December 2015 after more than a decade of populist rule, Macri has reached a deal with creditors to allow Argentina to exit default, cut grains export taxes, and reduced utilities to lower the fiscal deficit to the government target of 3.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

Despite his “Let’s Change” coalition’s strong performance in last October’s legislative elections, it still lacks a majority, and reforms Macri has proposed since then have generated vocal opposition. A reform to the country’s pension system passed last December only after violent clashes outside Congress.

Macri had also promised more immediate and drastic changes to the country’s labor laws, widely seen as among the most costly to companies in Latin America. Certain elements of that proposal, such as lower corporate penalties for firing workers, prompted an outcry from powerful labor unions.

His focus on Thursday on just one element of the proposal, the labor amnesty, was indicative of the piecemeal approach the government now plans. One-third of workers in Argentina are off-the-books, Macri said, and the law would allow them to formally register without losing seniority or benefits.

He also called on the Senate to pass a reform to the country’s capital markets law that had previously been passed by the lower house. Macri suggested Congress debate the legalization of abortion, a divisive issue in the heavily Roman Catholic country, even though he is personally opposed. “I am in favor of life, but I also support mature debates,” he said.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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  • Brit Bob

    ''Mauricio Macri inaugurated the ordinary session in Congress and did not name the Malvinas in his speech'' (Diario Prensa, 2 March).

    Common sense really.

    How would a map of the world look today if all of the territory lost and gained over the past 180 years reverted to its 19th century status? Quite a ridiculous proposal.

    Falklands – Acquisitive Prescription(1 pg): https://www.academia.edu/35552595/Falklands_-Acquisitive_Prescription

    Mar 03rd, 2018 - 10:38 am +2
  • DemonTree

    @EM
    You said the same thing before the midterms, but his party did pretty well in those. Evidently enough people think his speech resembles the real Argentina, and you are only getting half the story.

    Mar 04th, 2018 - 08:45 pm +1
  • DemonTree

    @EM
    “I would hesitate to use an election as evidence that things are going in the right direction”

    I agree with that. A government being popular does not mean their policies will be good in the long term. I just think there is another side to Argentina, people who want to 'rejoin the world' and be able to believe in their government's statistics, as well as able to buy cheap iPhones like their friends in Chile or the USA. CFK was supposed to be favour of regional integration but wouldn't even trade with Uruguay and Brazil freely. They may not approve of everything Macri is doing, but a lot of people wanted a change.

    Also, I could be wrong, but wasn't Menem's government an elected rightist one? I seem to remember you complaining about how similar Macri's policies are to Menem's.

    Mar 05th, 2018 - 07:12 pm +1
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