Scholz tells Milei that his reforms must be compatible with social cohesion | International

A short meeting of just an hour, with images of the greeting between the two, and an even shorter press release to basically explain what the two leaders were talking about. This is how Berlin the controversial first meeting between Argentine President Javier Milei and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to that note, which was made public shortly after the Argentine's departure, Scholz spoke about the impact of the reform plans that Milei has undertaken in his country and “underlined” that “social compatibility and the protection of social cohesion are points of excellence references must be'. .

It is the only sense in which a veiled criticism of the policies of Milei can be interpreted, who met this Sunday for the first time with a social democratic head of government in the six months since he took office as president of Argentina. The meeting was official in nature, but The format did not correspond to that usually dedicated to Berlin to foreign leaders visiting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Normally the reception includes military awards, a bilateral meeting (face-to-face) and a subsequent press conference.

And that was the original plan, until a few days before the Argentine government asked to change the agenda. Berlin has made it clear that the change was due to the wishes of Milei, who wanted to avoid answering questions from German journalists and foreign correspondents with the chancellor. “This is a very short working meeting and at the request – and I say this explicitly – of the Argentine President,” emphasized the spokesman for the executive branch, Steffen Hebestreit, who added: “I have heard that he has very few or no press conferences given since he took office, so we ultimately agreed to this request.”

Milei's German trip began Saturday in Hamburg, where the president received a medal from the controversial Hayek Society, which describes itself as liberal and a continuation of the ideas of the famous Austrian economist, but which has prominent members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). In his speech, he avoided talking about Germany or its leader, limiting himself to defending what he considers Argentina's economic performance since becoming president. He has filed a general complaint against the “socialists” who, he said, are attacking him “so violently” because their recipe for radical adjustment is working and the Argentine economy is beginning to recover, according to the Efe agency.

Argentinian residents have organized protests against Milei in both Hamburg and Berlin. In the Hanseatic city, about 200 people gathered in front of their hotel with signs such as “No to the military junta,” in Spanish, and “No to Milei in Hamburg,” written in German. In Berlin, shouts (“Fuera Milei”) were heard in the background at the Argentine president as he got out of the car and Scholz greeted him with a handshake.

According to the State Department, the leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the economy, trade, sustainable energy and global climate protection. Argentina is one of Germany's most important economic partners in Latin America and has raw materials, such as lithium, that Berlin urgently needs to undertake its ecological transition. The leaders also discussed the free trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur countries and agreed that negotiations should be concluded quickly, the note said. “There was also discussion about Argentina's possible accession to the OECD. The German government supports this effort,” he added.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also mentions the war in Ukraine as one of the prominent topics of the meeting. Both leaders participated in the peace summit in Switzerland. “During the talks held today, both also agreed that Russia has it in its power to end the war of aggression against Ukraine,” the statement said.

The German media had expected that Milei's visit would be uncomfortable for Scholz, to say the least. The two politicians are ideologically opposed and the diplomatic conflict with Spain remains open after Argentina insulted President Pedro Sánchez's wife. German journalists repeatedly asked Scholz's spokesman whether the chancellor planned to talk to Milei about his insults to another head of government. The spokesperson called his words 'unpleasant' this week.

'The Disturbing Guest', for example, stands out on the cover of the weekend edition of the Berlin newspaper. Tagesspiegel, which points out that Milei has become a star for the “new right” and describes him as “Donald Trump of South America.” Him too Frankfurter Allgemeine On the paper cover a space was dedicated to him with the title 'The Provocateur'.

Milei's visit had also raised concerns within the ranks of the SPD's social democrats and its governing partner, the Greens. The foreign spokesperson for this formation in the Bundestag, Deborah Düring, assured the public broadcaster ARD that Milei is “diametrically opposed to our policy and values.” Referring to Berlin's interest in Argentine lithium, he added: “The interests in raw materials should never take precedence over our values, such as the issue of human rights and environmental standards.” Social Democratic foreign policy spokesman Nils Schmid also spoke of his “great concern” about the situation in Argentina and expected that the relationship between the two countries will not be easy under Milei's presidency.

Before traveling to Germany, Milei traveled through Madrid, where she received the medal of the Community of Madrid from the president of this community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. This week, the Argentine president again attacked the government of Pedro Sánchez. “He promotes freedom of expression, it is clear that he applies the Maduro model,” the Argentine president said of Sánchez in his last television interview.n who again described him as a 'coward'.

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