Buenos Aires – French President Francois Hollande, accompanied by Franco-Argentine footballer David Trezeguet and 30 business leaders, started Wednesday a visit to Argentina, where s’ opens a new economic era with the recent rise to power of center-right president Mauricio Macri.
After Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia, Argentina is the second stage of a tour of South American who leads first Tuesday in Peru, which ends Thursday in Uruguay.
Shortly before 16:00 local time (2000 French time), French President paid tribute to the “ father of Argentine independence ” General San Martin, while the southern countries -américain this year celebrate the bicentennial of its independence. He laid a wreath at the foot of a statue of Jose San Martin (1778-1850), who died in France in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
François Hollande later met his Argentine counterpart at the presidential palace, where the two men had to sign a twenty cooperation agreements before giving a joint press conference at 17:00.
Before arriving in Buenos Aires, François Hollande had sent a message of support to the Argentine government, ensuring that France supported “ Argentina’s efforts to achieve a settlement of the central file debt, as we have always done in the past . ”
This Latin American country is negotiating with US hedge funds to settle a dispute over its debt dating from the economic crisis of 2001.
Mr. Holland is the first head of state leading to visit Mauricio Macri, a former mayor of Buenos Aires and that is to lead the country for two months.
After realizing during his tenure in Brazil, Mexico and Cuba, the French president shall give the agenda a sometimes forgotten region. Since 1964 and the visit of General de Gaulle, only two heads of the French state have indeed visited Argentina: François Mitterrand (1987) and Jacques Chirac (1997).
In Argentina’s third largest economy in Latin America and rich in natural resources, Francois Hollande will try to give a boost to French companies already present in number and encourage any settlements.
About 250 French companies (Total, Danone, Renault, PSA, etc.) operating in Argentina, where France has a nice trade surplus of one billion euros.
The coming to power of a popular president of markets changes the game and makes the country more attractive. Exchange controls were abolished and foreign companies can now repatriate their dividends.
– EU-Mercosur Treaty –
In a month, it is Barack Obama who in turn will be in Buenos Aires, a way for Washington to mark the field in America South who turned his back for a decade after his long turf.
But the timing is controversial: the American president will be in Buenos Aires at the time of the 40th anniversary of the military coup of 1976, supported by the United States.
This military dictatorship (1976-1983) has left wounds that are slow to close, as missing persons are numerous. The Park of Memory, where 10,000 identified victims names are etched in stone, Mr Hollande will meet and collect Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, emblematic movements of the struggle against dictatorship.
The presence in the French presidential delegation leaders Arianespace and Thales demonstrates bilateral space cooperation. Argentina made it a year and a half its own communication satellite and it was put into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana.
In an interview with AFP, Mauricio Macri said he wanted to “ energize a historical relationship ” with France. “ Between our countries there has always been an important link, he said. As mayor of Buenos Aires, I developed with the City of Paris cultural tandem with the government, I sought to maintain this link, while the government (Cristina Kirchner) distanced itself from France and the world in general . ”
About Free Trade Agreement EU-Mercosur, slowed by disagreements within the South American bloc, Argentina wants to play a leading role in the talks: “ We hope that France will accompany us as chapter complicates negotiations is the agricultural chapter, and France holds the key , “said Mr. Macri.