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ARGENTINA | 09-05-2022 15:39

President Fernández puts domestic tensions on pause with European tour

Argentina’s president flies to the Spanish city of Madrid on Monday ahead of meeting with Spanish leader Pedro Sánchez. Tour also includes a two-day stopover in Germany and possible meeting with Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

President Alberto Fernández will look to put domestic tensions behind him on Monday as he jets off to Europe for a week-long tour.

With reports of internal tensions in the ruling Frente de Todos coalition rife and another complicated week of economic turmoil ahead of him, Fernández will hope to find himself on kinder terrain in Europe, where the Peronist leader has formed good relationships with a number of key leaders.

Argentina’s president has meetings lined up with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, King Felipe VI, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and is hoping to confirm facetime with France’s newly re-elected leader Emmanuel Macron.

Fernández will find it difficult to ignore his domestic concerns while away. Last week’s headlines, which were dominated by reports of infighting among the sectors of the coalition he leads, were capped off by criticism of his government’s economic plan from his own Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

On Thursday. the INDEC national statistics bureau is due to confirm Argentina’s latest inflation figure for April. Price increases are a constant source of concern, with hikes over the last 12 months totalling more than 50 percent. Public hearings over future increases of electricity and petrol prices are also scheduled.

 

Stopovers

Fernández, who is due to depart Buenos Aires on Monday at 5pm, is expected to be outside Argentina for at least six days. 

The first stop on his trip will be Madrid, where Fernández will arrive at midday on Tuesday and stay for 24 hours. After a brief stay at the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence, where he will be received by Ricardo Alfonsín, the president  will head to the Moncloa Palace to open his official agenda with a bilateral meeting with Pedro Sánchez.

Later that afternoon, Fernández will travel to the Zarzuela Palace, where he will visit King Felipe VI. Also on the presidential agenda is a meeting with business leaders from growth sectors in Argentina’s economy, such as “tech, lithium, mining and green hydrogen," government sources said.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to Berlin for a two-day visit that includes a meeting with Chancellor Scholz, who he met last October on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Rome.

According to Casa Rosada sources, Fernández is also hoping to spend Friday and Saturday in Paris, where the head of state wants to meet with Emmanuel Macron, the French leader who on April 24 won re-election for a second term in a run-off against far-right rival Marine Le Pen.


‘Presidential diplomacy’

On the diplomatic front, Argentina’s goal for the trip is to "develop presidential diplomacy with European leaders," the sources added, who said Fernández will also lean on his position as the pro-tempore president of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) “to promote dialogue” between that body and the European Union.

The trip’s political objective is to “install Argentina as a secure and stable supplier of food and energy" amid the global turmoil resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the sources said.

The president wants to "engage in a political dialogue at the highest level to listen to their opinions and obviously see what can be done to improve our exports and bring in foreign currency.” they added.

The travelling delegation will include Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, Secretary General to the Presidency Julio Vitobello, International Economic Relations Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Cecilia Todesc and Government Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti, among others. 

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán will not be in attendance due to “agenda reasons,” government sources told Noticias Argentinas.

First Lady Fabiola Yañez – a regular on foreign visits overseas – will remain in Argentina, following the birth of her and the president’s son, Francisco, on April 11.

Unless there are last-minute changes, Fernández is scheduled to board an Aerolíneas Argentinas AR1090 charter flight at 5pm at Ezeiza International Airport, arriving in Madrid tomorrow morning.

 

– TIMES/NA
 

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