• Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Germany's Scholz to receive Argentinian President Milei in Berlin

Germany's Scholz to receive Argentinian President Milei in Berlin

Berlin, 23 June 2024 (dpa/MIA) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set to receive Argentinian President Javier Milei in Berlin on Sunday.

Scholz is due to welcome the controversial Milei, who describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist, at the Federal Chancellery at 12 pm (1000 GMT).

Milei was originally due to receive a full welcome with military honours, but this, alongside a joint press conference, was cancelled at short notice.

Instead, the two leaders are due to meet for talks scheduled to last just one hour, reportedly at Milei's request.

The meeting between the two vastly contrasting leaders - one pragmatic, the other bombastic - is likely to focus primarily on economic issues. Argentina has large reserves of raw materials such as lithium that are urgently needed in Germany for the energy transition.

In addition, talks on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American economic organization Mercosur remain deadlocked.

Milei, who was elected with more than 55% of the vote in November's presidential elections, arrived in Germany on Saturday to receive a medal from the Friedrich August von Hayek Foundation in the northern port city of Hamburg.

He collected the award from the think tank - named after the Austrian pioneer of neoliberalism - as hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the venue against his invitation.

Around 200 supporters attended the ceremony, including notable right-wing German politicians such as Beatrix von Storch, a lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Only a handful of global leaders have received Milei since he took office, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Italy's Giorgia Meloni, El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele and Pope Francis.

On a previous stop in Madrid earlier this week, Milei was snubbed by officials after a bitter war of words with the Spanish government.

Milei skipped traditional early visits to Argentina's neighbours Brazil and Chile due to wide ideological differences. He has visited the United States a number of times without receiving an invitation to the White House, instead meeting with Tesla chief Elon Musk and former President Donald Trump.

Photo: MIA archive