“Uruguay does not figure in the list of countries with which France has financial difficulties”, said a special envoy from President Nicholas Sarkozy who visited Montevideo this week, thus ending the controversy triggered at the end of the early November G8 Cannes summit when Uruguay was described as a “fiscal haven”.
The recently appointed Minister of State for French Nationals abroad Edouard Courtail, in his first official visit to South America underlined the long standing close relations between the two countries saying that he chose to begin in Uruguay “as testimony to the quality of relations between both countries”.
“France and Uruguay have no difficulties of fiscal nature” said Courtail emphasizing that this is clearly in evidence with the wide ranging cooperation agreement between both countries dating back to January 2010.
“Uruguay does not figure in the list of countries with which France has difficulties on financial affairs” added the French minister who said this was a clear indicator “of the strong links between both countries in investments, education, technology, economy and finance” and he insisted that was “one of the main reasons to begin his South American tour in Montevideo”.
Minister Courtail was the guest of honour at the annual gathering of the France-Uruguay chamber of Commerce, the oldest in Montevideo, where he praised the performance of the country’s economy, (‘makes EU ministers blush’), and its growth, adding that “French cooperation will continue along the same path”.
Uruguayan Finance minister Fernando Lorenzo was the main speaker at the event saying that relations between the two countries are “very intense” recalling that he was able to continue graduate studies in Paris on a French scholarship, He also mentioned that during the military dictatorship many Uruguayans were granted asylum by the French government.
“From an economic point of view Uruguay is well prepared to face the challenge of the economic crisis developing in Europe”, but using the word ‘water-tight’ is not entirely correct.
The presence of Courtail in Montevideo and his public statements regarding financial relations with France closes the controversy chapter that surfaced when President Sarkozy as host and spokesperson of the G8 summit in Cannes, at the beginning of November, included Uruguay and Panama in a list of countries described as fiscal havens, “which run the risk of being cut off from the international financial community”.
The incident sent shockwaves in Uruguay that immediately recalled the ambassador in Paris for consultations and started a sustained campaign to reverse the statement. Mexico the next G20 host and president supported Uruguay, so did Brazil and finally the French government which argued that Sarkozy was acting as a spokesperson for the group and did not necessarily fully share the statement.
All along the Uruguayan political system suspected an ‘Argentine hand’ was behind the inclusion of Uruguay as a ‘fiscal haven’. Argentina denied the allegations but only partially admitted, and two weeks later, that Uruguay was not a fiscal haven.
Even when Courtail does not hold a full minister of state post (he has been on the job since last September), he reports directly to Alain Juppé Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Courtail is touring the world to organize May-June election for French residents overseas that will be entitled to have several representatives in the national assembly.
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Headline change? ;)Dec 02nd, 2011 - 06:29 pm 0
#1 More like a change of President at the next election! :Dec 02nd, 2011 - 07:54 pm 0