It was the third time they have met this year and the fifth time since he was elected president. Alberto Fernández flew 11,000 kilometres on Wednesday night to take part in the Fifth Edition of the Peace Forum in Paris and meet with President Emmanuel Macron.
The anomalous functioning of the government coalition leads to an inevitable comparison: the face-to-face meeting with the French leader competes with the number of times Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have met during the year. A month ago, when they last met in New York, Macron told Fernández that he would be invited to the Peace Forum to call for peace and find solutions to the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine through renewed multilateralism and solidarity. Argentina’s head of state was willing to represent South America as head of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) bloc.
Fernández will hold various meetings with Macron while in Paris, but Thursday’s face-to-face encounter was the fifth meeting between the two since he was elected president. The first was in February 2020, the second in May 2021, while the third and fourth were this year. With this latest tête à tête, Fernández is once again illustrating the closeness and kinship he feels with Macron, whom he often calls a "friend."
Each time they have met, it has come in the midst of an internal dispute in the ruling Frente de Todos coalition, from which Fernández cannot escape, not even while on the international tours he undertakes. This latest meeting means that face-to-face encounters with Macron are now more common than those with his own vice-president, with whom he once again had no dialogue.
Nevertheless, before departure, the government tried to show off a picture of unity. There was a photo-op at a conference room featuring Cabinet Chief Juan Manzur; Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ De Pedro; Security Minister Aníbal Fernández and the head of Social Development portfolio, Victoria Tolosa Paz. Seeing Albertismo and Kirchnerismo in the same room is a novelty these days, even though the faces were not the best.
The coalition’s internal discussions today are dominated by "bonus yes, bonus no" and "PASO yes, PASO no." Kirchnerism is demanding that a pay hike for workers arrive before the end of the year, while it also wants to discuss the suspension of the primaries. The first battle seems to have been won by the sector that responds to the vice-president, while in the second discussion Fernández has the advantage, since there are not enough votes to suspend the PASOs, something the head of state refuses to do. The president's candidacy for a second term also comes into play here.
While in France, Fernández will once again highlight Argentina’s potential as an important food producer and exporter, and push its claims on renewable energies, with great possibilities for producing green hydrogen, wind and solar energy in the country.
From there he will travel to Indonesia. The G20 Leaders Summit will consist of three sessions. The first will be devoted to food and energy security, the second to health and the third to digital transformation. The G20 Presidency, currently held by Indonesia, decided that all presidents will speak in the first session and then proposed that each leader choose to speak in either the second or third session. Argentina will participate in all three and Alberto Fernández will also speak for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole.