Before jetting off to the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis, Argentine president Mauricio Macri met with his French counterpart François Hollande at the Pink House to discuss the South American country’s financial fate, La Nación reported.
The French head of state expressed France’s support in Argentina’s struggle against the ‘vulture’ funds, and Hollande claimed that his government would issue export financing to companies that establish themselves in the country. Speaking to Macri, and without much overture, Hollande went on: “You’ve opened a new chapter for Argentina, and France wants to help out.”
Reestablishing cold relations
Apart from signing 27 bilateral agreements yesterday, the two leaders worked on reestablishing mutual relations between the two nations after years of isolation. Hollande’s support contrasts with the distancing of relations between Paris and Buenos Aires under the Fernández de Kirchner administration, rooted in the debt disputes with the Club de Paris, as well as Argentine restrictions on French importations.
An hour after the two presidents emerged from their private meeting, Macri informed the press as well as other functionaries present, that Argentina and France will now begin working “towards a vigorous new phase of interaction in regards to bilateral relations.”
The last time a French head of state visited Argentina was when Jacques Chirac came through in 1997.
“A financial roadmap”
The French head of state also expressed his desire to integrate Argentina into the OECD (Organization for Economic cooperation and Development), an international organization comprised of 34 developing nations established in 1961, dedicated to promoting economic growth and participation in global trade.
“We want to support Argentina in it’s reintegration into the international financial community. France supports Argentina’s candidacy for the OCDE. We hope you can find a solution to your sovereign debt crisis, and our presence in the international financial establishment will allow us to find such a solution,” Hollande added before an applauding crowd.
Amongst Hollande’s retinue arrived 70 French businessmen, along with a message from the French leader concerning the benefit of installing credit in Argentina in an effort to establish “a financial road map” so that its association with the country may install itself in a coherent fashion for the long term,” the message outlined.
On another note
Macri also brought up the issue of climate change, an issue which has moved to the forefront of international concern since the Paris conference in December.
One topic the leaders didn’t expand much upon was the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union which has remained stagnant for over 10 years.
“We will seriously continue to pay attention to the negotiations regarding the agreement between Mercosur and the European union, as well as all other themes related to agriculture,” Hollande added.
According to official sources from the Pink House, Macri experienced a difficult time striking up a conversation about the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, and sources speculated that “perhaps Hollande is saving the issue to discuss with his counterpart in Uruguay” whom he is scheduled to visit tomorrow.
Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez, starting next July, will be the president pro tempore of Mercosur.
Hollande’s visit to Argentina comes about a week after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stopped by in a show of Italian support, and a month before United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Macri and his family in March.