After a two hour bilateral meeting, President Mauricio Macri and his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy held a press conference to go over the issues they talked about during the meeting and to assure the public that the countries’ relationship is back on track, after years of stagnation (and notable mention at points) during the last part of the Cristina Kirchner administration. Macri managed to include one of his dad jokes, too.
“Our bilateral relationship, after difficult years, has recovered its traditional vigor,” Rajoy made clear at the beginning of the conference.
Speaking from the Palacio de la Moncloa, Rajoy went on to say that a trade agreement between the Mercosur trading bloc and the European Union — something the Macri administration along with Temer’s team in Brazil are absolutely set on making happen — would be “positive.”
“Our relationship has to make that [the agreement] easier. It’s a unique opportunity,” Macri said. “One of the meeting’s most important topics was the Mercosur. Macri expressed his eagerness to reach an understanding. Spain will do all within its reach to make that happen and do it quickly,” Rajoy added.
Predictably, Macri also made reference to his goal of attracting investments during his visit: “There are more than 300 important Spanish companies in our country’s everyday life, and we hope they expand their investments,” he said. To that statement, Rajoy said Spain “will invest in Argentina.”
Further on in the conference, both heads of state were consulted about their stances regarding the territories of Gibraltar and Malvinas. Rajoy said they hadn’t discussed the issue. Although Macri confirmed that, he said he still wanted to “thank Spain’s support on the matter.”
Macri was then asked about the situation of the controversial social leader Milagro Sala, who has been in prison for over a year on corruption charges that haven’t yet been judged by a court: “Podemos [party] brought us a petition in a very educated manner, the issue is being handled by the Jujuy Province’s Judiciary, which fortunately has made room for an appeal that took the issue to the Supreme Court.”
Podemos representatives, however, weren’t that polite when Macri went to the Spanish Congress to give a speech yesterday. Party’s spokesperson Irene Montero wore a T-shirt that read “Freedom for Milagro Sala” during the session. And in his speech to Congress, Podemos Political Secretary Iñigo Errejón attacked Macri’s policies, claiming they had led to unemployment and poverty.
Finally, the heads of state made reference to the severe crisis Venezuela is going through: “We share an enormous concern over what the Venezuelan people are suffering [through]; there are some who still deny what’s going on there. We will keep fighting to defend the people’s legitimate right to choose their authorities and have a country that’s integrated to the world again,” Macri said.
But none of Macri’s high-profile press conferences would be such without one of his already typical dad jokes, and the Argentine President gave the people what they (didn’t) want: “The only issue we have, President, is that we have a tough time forgiving you for the fact that you systematically take away our best football players and coaches.” If you cringed on the other side of the screen, you are not alone.
Prior to the conference, the heads of state signed 12 agreements to expand the bilateral agenda.