Last week unexpectedly the Argentine president Alberto Fernandez left for a quick tour of three European countries, two confirmed before leaving, Spain and Germany and a third which was only later approved since French President Emmanuel Macron is facing legislative elections.
On leaving the motive of the trip was to bring, attract investments to Argentina again facing an extreme economic situation, with Buenos Aires and other main cities occupied by picketers, demanding an increase to their social plans, handouts from the government that are distributed among militant organizations and are estimated to number over five million.
The fact is that according to Argentine media invited to accompany the president and his team, besides large pictures of Alberto Fernandez embraced by Pedro Sanchez in Madrid, Olaf Scholtz in Berlin and in the last leg Macron in Paris, nothing more happened, no documents or memorandums were signed, and hosts didn't bother to outstand the visit beyond a mention in daily agendas.
However at some moment the purpose of the trip was better outlined, Argentina, a breadbasket of agriculture production, and with ample reserves of gas and oil was going to offer its counterparts faced with the Ukraine/Russian war, food and energy.
Chancellor Scholtz with Teutonic patience and politeness listened to what Fernandez had to say, thanked for the offer, but that is all since Germany and neighbors must solve their energy, oil and gas, shortages now, and Argentina might have some of the world's largest reserves of shale gas and oil, but resources have to developed and pipelines built so mainly gas can be transported to Europe.
Besides Argentina is currently a net importer of energy, particularly gas, and still far away from self sufficiency.
Nevertheless the offer help kicked back and strongly, but from Moscow, furious that an alleged ally was wanting to replace Russian energy to Europe. Sputnik the official Putin news agency in a blunt article called Argentine president Fernandez a traitor, for the energy peddling and recalled that the Argentine leader when desperate with IMF negotiations, appealed to Russia for support and the Sputnik vaccines. Besides in a trip at the beginning of the Ukrainian war, of Fernandez to Moscow he offered Argentina as the gate of access to Latin America for trade and investments.
Fernandez then came up with suggestions about stopping Germany from sending weapons to Ukraine. Again Scholtz with polite patience explained that even if he could agree, German public opinion overwhelming favored helping Ukraine and the implementation of the issue was taking place and in the hands of Defense ministry.
In the last leg of the trip this time in Paris, plenty of pictures with the French leader, and allegedly Fernandez presented Macron with a plan to end the war in Ukraine. This time French politeness, Macron anticipating he would discuss it with other EU leaders, but not much more. A very brief media conference, no mention to the plan to save European souls, and Macron, back to campaigning.
On the return to picketers' Buenos Aires, Fernandez had to explain if his reelection ambition stood, since a capable Spanish reporter trapped him to say yes, but the Argentine president later denied it twice, until finally admitting it was in the cards. His press secretary said that the brief tour meant president Fernandez was again in the front stage of the main world leaders, while serious political analysts in Buenos Aires were again puzzled by the zigzagging of Argentine foreign policy.
One of them Nelson Castro recalled a previous visit of German investors to Buenos Aires who had contracted him for a conference on Argentine politics. It was scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM but because of pickets a few managed to arrive at 11:00, an hour later. The head of German investors then called Herr Nelson and told him, that if in an official delegation it took us an hour to cover thirty blocks, imagine if I had an office in Buenos Aires. Pls forget the conference and let us enjoy coffee and pastries.
Another Carlos Pagni was more caustic, Fernandez has a plan to end the war in Ukraine and Macron accepted it!!!, he couldn't stop laughing. He also mentioned that energy supply in Argentina from Vaca Muerta shale deposits is still a prospect, and farmers, despite the incredible Argentine fertile land, are thinking twice how much they plan to plant, since Fernandez' government is again thinking on higher cereal and oilseed export taxes, the so called windfall tax.
To lustrate the incompetence of Argentine foreign policy, Pagni mentioned a recent incident involving foreign minister Santiago Cafiero, who in a brief visit at the end of April to the Venice Biennale added since in Italy, he would hop by to see the Pope. Vatican replied Francis could not receive him because of a weak knee. However the day the visit did not happen an organization of youngsters visited the Pope, and a joyful Francis was seen walking, chatting, and laughing with the young visitors, who enthusiastically posted pictures of the meeting.
Pagni commented that according to Italian sources the fact that Cafiero was not going to meet the Pope after all, was what finally had Francis in good spirits and with a recovered knee.