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Diplomacy: “Anarcho-capitalist” in the Chancellery: Scholz meets Milei

Diplomacy: “Anarcho-capitalist” in the Chancellery: Scholz meets Milei
Diplomacy: “Anarcho-capitalist” in the Chancellery: Scholz meets Milei

Two very different types of politicians come together in Berlin: here the quiet pragmatist, there the loud eccentric. But there should be no shortage of important topics: lithium and free trade.

Javier Milei is not a fan of keeping a low profile: during the election campaign he appeared with a chainsaw running, he likes to refer to parliamentarians he doesn’t like as “rats” and he sees the state as the root of all evil. Today the Argentine president, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist”, will be received by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the Berlin Chancellery. One thing is certain: two completely opposite types of politicians will meet: here the quiet pragmatist, there the loud eccentric.

The public will not hear much of this, however: the originally announced greeting with military honors was canceled at short notice, as was a joint press conference. What remains is a short photo opportunity at the start of the conversation, which is only scheduled to last an hour – at Milei’s request, according to the German side. The Argentine head of state is not keen on direct confrontation with journalists: he practically never holds press conferences in his home country either.

Economic issues on the agenda

The meeting in the Chancellery is likely to focus primarily on economic issues. Argentina has many raw materials such as lithium, which is urgently needed in Germany. In addition, talks on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American economic association Mercosur are still at a standstill.

As an economic liberal, Milei is a great friend of free trade, but for ideological reasons he is at odds with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – the head of state of the region’s largest economic power and Argentina’s most important trading partner.

Milei honored in Hamburg

Milei had already arrived in Germany on Saturday and had received the medal of the liberal Friedrich August von Hayek Society in Hamburg – in the presence of AfD politician Beatrix von Storch and the chairman of the right-wing conservative Values ​​Union Hans-Georg Maaßen.

“You are bringing capitalism off the defensive,” said the chairman of the Association of Economists, Stefan Kooths, in his laudation. He compared Milei’s policy to chemotherapy. “The side effects are severe,” said the Kiel economist. But without such a therapy, Argentina would be finished.

Argentina in the economic crisis

South America’s second-largest economy has been in a serious economic crisis for decades. Argentina suffers from a bloated state apparatus, low industrial productivity and a large shadow economy that deprives the state of a lot of tax revenue.

Milei has now prescribed a real drastic cure for the country: the government has cut thousands of public sector jobs, reduced subsidies and wound up social programs. According to the Catholic University of Argentina, almost 56 percent of people in Argentina live below the poverty line and around 18 percent live in extreme poverty.

“It was always clear that this would not be without difficulties, but we always communicated that clearly to people,” said Milei in his rather lengthy lecture to the Hayek Society. “We said that there would be no money, that it would be hard, that it would be difficult to get started, but that we would eventually achieve good results.”

Only a few heads of state and government meet Milei

Before Scholz, only a few heads of state and government have received Milei since he took office six months ago: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele and Pope Francis as head of state of the Vatican.

Milei skipped the usual trips for Argentine presidents to important neighboring countries such as Brazil and Chile due to ideological differences. He has been to the USA several times – but without an appointment at the White House. Instead, he met with Tesla boss Elon Musk and former President Donald Trump, with whom he is often compared.

Source: Stern

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