Argentine President Alberto Fernández and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met Saturday at the Palacio San Martín (Foreign Ministry) in Buenos Aires, during the first stop of the South American tour of the European leader, who was scheduled to travel to Chile and Brazil.
Scholz's visit sought to promote bilateral trade and investment flows, as well as the financing of various projects, according to Casa Rosada, while Fernández also pointed out that the was focused on their mutual concern about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the prolongation of the armed conflict with its respective consequences. Climate change was also a key issue, it was reported. Scholz even invited Argentina to join his Climate Club initiative.
The German leader insisted that there must be a constructive spirit in the relations between the European Union and Mercosur: I want to underline the importance of the relationship with Argentina. Our countries are trustworthy partners, both politically and economically, Scholz said. We both agree that these trade relations harbor enormous potential. We are thinking of promoting ventures, he continued. Both leaders, who were meeting for the third time in 8 months, also agreed to pinpoint the strong presence of German companies in the country.
Regarding the Ukraine crisis, Fernández insisted that we have already stated our condemnation to the hostilities unleashed by Russia on Ukraine, and, on that point, we have supported the European position and we continue to support it; in the northern hemisphere missiles are flying and people are dying, and in the southern hemisphere this translates into hunger and higher costs, so what I intend is that Russia understands the damage that all this is causing to the southern hemisphere.
The Chancellor already knows my position on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, he knows of Argentina's predisposition to collaborate and find a solution, today I raised again things that the Chancellor had already heard before, said Fernández.
We also talked about the conditions that Argentina offers for the future in energy matters, we talked about the gas we have in Vaca Muerta, we talked about our lithium deposits, our green hydrogen production...all renewable energies that Europe and Germany are specifically interested in, Fernández went on.
Consulted about the European Union-Mercosur deal, Fernández argued that such an understanding included certain clauses under which such an agreement cannot prosper. The agreement with the European Union must respect asymmetries, the Argentine leader stressed.
The document was signed at a time when Mauricio Macri and Jair Bolsonaro ruled in the bloc's two largest economies. It thus featured certain provisions that are contrary to the Mercosur countries' interests because we defend employment and labor, and there are rules in Europe that harm our products, Fernández argued.
Scholz also met with Economy Minister Sergio Massa together with a group of German businessmen and reporters.