Germany – Argentina: Scholz – Milei Summit, Focus on Economic Reforms

Milei's trip to Germany is accompanied by protests

Javier Milei (a sinistra) e Olaf Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz received Argentine President Javier Milei, who is on a two-day official visit to Germany, on Sunday, June 23. During the talks, Scholz praised the economic reforms initiated by Milei immediately after his election as Argentine president in November 2023. The German Chancellor, however, expressed hope that the radical reforms would develop in a way “compatible” with the “social protection of the people of Argentina.”

After talking about reforms in Argentina, Scholz and Milei analyzed “the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, from the economy to trade, to renewable energy development, and the fight against climate change.” The two sides also discussed the progress of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, a kind of Latin American “common market” that also includes Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Scholz and Milei agreed that “negotiations should be finalized quickly.” During the election campaign, Milei repeatedly threatened to “pull Argentina out of Mercosur.”

Immediately after his election, Milei reversed his predecessor Alberto Fernandez’s decision to join the BRICS group of countries in 2024. In this context, Scholz and Milei talked about Buenos Aires’s plan to instead join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a decision that Berlin has pledged to support.

Before the meeting, several dozen demonstrators gathered in front of Scholz’s chancellery in Berlin to protest the arrival of the libertarian leader. This is his first visit to Germany since he was elected president of Argentina. The protests forced Milei and Scholz to cancel a planned joint press conference. The day before, on Saturday, June 22, in Hamburg, Milei received an award from the neoliberal Friedrich August von Hayek Foundation, named after the Austrian pioneer of neoliberalism. The ceremony was interrupted by groups of demonstrators protesting Milei’s visit in front of the von Hayek Foundation headquarters.

Following the trip to Germany, Milei will visit the Czech Republic on Monday, June 24, where he is scheduled to meet with representatives of the business world, as well as hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Petr Fiala.