Monday, May 27, 2024

ARGENTINA | 16-05-2024 15:24

Milei heads to Madrid as star guest for Vox summit

Argentina’s President set to meet with Santiago Abascal, the leader of far-right party Vox, during trip to Spanish capital.

President Javier Milei flew to Spain on Thursday to attend a gathering of far-right European leaders and present his new book, a day earlier than initially expected.

With a number of high-profile officials overseas on foreign trips, Argentina’s President cancelled his regular Cabinet meeting to speed up his departure. Accompanied by his sister, presidential chief-of-staff, he took off for Madrid onboard the ARG 01 presidential plane.

According to information circulated by his government, Milei was due to present his latest book Friday at an event in the Spanish capital. 

The following day, he was due to meet with a number of CEOs from Spanish firms.

The main event of his short European stay is a meeting with his ideological ally, Santiago Abascal, the leader of the far-right Spanish party Vox. 

The two were due to hold talks on Saturday, a day before the ‘Europa Viva 24’ summit, which runs from May 18 and 19 and brings together the leading lights of the European right.

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the May 18-19 convention, which comes just weeks before European parliamentary elections. 

Abascal, a fierce opponent of the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) and avowed eurosceptic, is hopeful of a strong performance by his candidates.

The focus for Milei while in Madrid is also commercial. Argentina’s libertarian leader is due to spend time with representatives from Telefónica, Banco Santander and Mapfre, among other firms, at an event at Argentina’s Embassy in the Spanish capital.

According to the Europa Press news agency, the main purpose of the event is for companies to inform the President of their plans for Argentina. 

Milei, in turn, hopes to highlight the “change of corporate climate” and the measures introduced by his administration.

Argentina’s government is hoping to attract firms to invest more in projects in Argentina and its mega-reform bill, currently in Congress, includes a new scheme that offers tax breaks and other benefits for those investing more than US$200 million.

Since his arrival to the Casa Rosada, Milei has been working on improving connections with the corporate world. He has made multiple trips overseas, mostly to the United States, and has attended a number of summits, delivering keynote speeches that he says shows Argentina is open for business. 

His most high-profile business meeting has been with Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX, who has regularly praised Milei on his X social network. Musk has recommended investing in Argentina, showing his alignment with policies pushed by the new government.

Milei confirmed his attendance at the event last March, declaring online: “I’ll be there once again with you, my dear friend! Long live liberty, damn it!”

Cabinet Chief Nicolás Posse and Foreign minister Diana Mondino travelled to Washington on Wednesday for meetings with authorities from the US State Department and the UN Security Council.

Before his departure, Milei faced renewed criticism from a Spanish government official. Science Minister Diana Morant said the government in Buenos Aires represented a "negationist model" that "attacks democracy." 

This is the second official from Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's government to criticise Milei in recent weeks, highlighting the ideological differences between the two administrations.

"It is no coincidence that we are on the eve of the European elections when Abascal receives Milei. We are the alternative to negationism and the undermining of democracy," Morant stressed.




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