Uruguayan president Jose Mujica tried to seduce German investors and business people during his first day visit to Germany which has been marked by the impact of the European crisis. On Tuesday he is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff.
“Since I love life I’ve come to sell and promote Uruguay, to offer Uruguay”, said Mujica in a forty minutes speech before 250 guests at the gala dinner celebrating the Latin America Day in the port city of Hamburg.
Hamburg as one of Germany’s main port has a long trade and maritime relation with Latin America and regularly hosts conferences and meetings to encourage bilateral trade and act as the main entrance for Latin American produce.
“Uruguay is a small country but well located between the boulevards of Argentina and Brazil, and of which I feel proud”, said Mujica who was the main speaker at the celebration in Hamburg’s Town hall and which counted with the attendance of many German corporate leaders, Economy minister Philipp Rösler and Hamburg City officials.
“Besides our values we are well inserted in Mercosur, a trade space still with many defects but that in fact it works and it does so as the sum of resources and efforts”, added the Uruguayan president who on Tuesday arrives in Berlin and will be giving a conference at the Social Democrats foundation Frederick Ebert.
Mujica said that when he looks to Europe and sees what is happening, ‘there has been a great effort of cohesion but also spendthrift’. He called on Europeans to respond to the challenge of other markets because “whatever you don’t occupy or leave void will be occupied by the Chinese”, which drew a strong applause.
President Mujica arrived in Hamburg from Sweden and Norway where he thanked both governments for having received Uruguayan political refugees during the time of the military dictatorship (1973/1984) and to promote trade and investments. He is travelling with several ministers and a delegation of Uruguayan business people.
“The incipient European crisis is a motive of concern and is related mainly to financial issues and speculation, rather than structural, but unfortunately it will impact on consumers’ habits”, said Uruguayan Minister for Industry, Energy and Mining, Roberto Kreimerman.
“So far we have been lucky because the global crisis has not affected us much, but you must be prepared just in case. Nevertheless Uruguay is a reliable country, as such it is recognized internationally and that helps us overcome the situation”, said Agriculture minister Tabare Aguerre, who is also part of the delegation.