RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, guaranteed on Wednesday before the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, Spain’s “absolute, total support” for the country in its talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Paris Club to reach an agreement on its debt.
“Spain will always be on Argentina’s side in these talks”, stressed Sánchez in his speech together with Fernández at the closing of a bilateral business forum organized on the occasion of his visit to Buenos Aires, his first official visit to the country.
The speeches of Sánchez and Fernández showed their complete agreement on how to deal with the economic and health crisis caused by the pandemic.
In the economic field, the President of Spain considered that “there is a great opportunity” with the announcement by the IMF that it intends to increase its reserves and credit capacity by 650 billion dollars with a new issue of special drawing rights.
“International financial institutions and development banks must be aware of the economic impact of the pandemic in middle-income countries such as Argentina and many other Latin American countries,” he added.
For this reason, he insisted that Spain will support a multilateral response to the recovery with the injection of public resources to countries such as Argentina.
Fernández thanked the head of the Spanish Government for his support. “It has always -he added- been on our side, accompanying us and understanding and attending to our claims”.
He also referred to how the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights are distributed and the inconveniences that this causes to middle-income countries like Argentina.
“In those middle-income countries that are hard for the world to understand why it should pay attention to them when it comes to distributing special drawing rights, 63% of global poverty is concentrated, and that explains why they should pay attention to them”, he remarked.
Mr. Sánchez highlighted the importance of the fact that the Spanish companies participating in the forum reiterated their commitment to maintain their Argentina investments and bet on the country.
After highlighting the importance of renewing the update of the bilateral strategic partnership, he asked Argentina to be aware that Spain is the gateway to Europe, a region which, he assured, “can be a great ally of Latin America”.
In Sánchez’s opinion, the best economic policy at present is to accelerate the vaccination process.
Argentina is going through one of its worst moments in the face of covid-19. The President of the Government showed his solidarity with Argentine society, just as he recalled that Fernández was one of the first international leaders to speak to him when the virus was hitting Spain hard.
The President of the Government recalled Spain’s commitment to donate 22.5 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX mechanism until the end of the year, most of them for Latin America.
But he defended that the international community must increase its production capacities and considered that two progressive governments, such as Spain and Argentina, must lead this debate.
“We are living through tough times for governments, with very complex and difficult decisions to take after many months of a pandemic but which are necessary”, he added before specifically supporting the measures adopted by the Argentine government.
For his part, Alberto Fernández reiterated not only the “indissoluble” bond between Spain and Argentina but also his good personal relationship and ideological affinity with Sánchez: “I want to say to the Spanish and Argentineans that they should seize the moment because they have two presidents who think the same. It is a unique opportunity to understand each other and to be able to move forward”.
In this sense, he underlined the possibilities for Spanish companies to continue investing, growing, and generating jobs in Argentina and for Argentine companies to continue selling their products in the Iberian country.
“We have all the conditions for Spain and Argentina to join forces and take advantage of opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic”, said Fernandez, and valued the need to promote the union of Latin America with Europe to “weave an axis of greater development” for both regions.