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Jun 24, 2024, 9:22am EDT
Europe
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Semafor Signals

Why Argentinian President Javier Milei courted controversy on his Europe tour

Insights from El País, La Nación, Wilson Center, and The Economist

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Javier Mili met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday.
Liesa Johannssen/Reuters
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The News

Argentinian President Javier Milei will visit the Czech Republic today, marking the final leg of a controversial European tour.

The trip saw Milei skip meetings with Spanish government officials in favor of a right-wing leader and drew protesters in Germany during a low-key meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Milei’s foreign trips raise questions about his domestic goals

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Sources:  
La Nación, El País

The Argentine president’s focus on international travels — he met world leaders at the G7 just over a week ago — is raising questions about his domestic goals, an analyst noted in La Nación, adding that Milei’s high-profile trips have yet to translate into concrete benefits for Argentines. Lawmakers have previously cast doubts about Milei’s use of public funds for trips that appeared more personal than official, since some didn’t involve meetings with government officials — with critics accusing the president of adopting the privileges of the “political caste” that he had previously opposed, El País reported.

All eyes are on Argentina’s lithium reserves

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Sources:  
Associated Press, Wilson Center, El País

In Germany, Milei and Scholz discussed the importance of “critical minerals,” likely a reference to Argentina’s vast stores of lithium, a metal that is key to the green transition. Argentina’s lithium industry is receiving increased attention from investors, particularly from China, the third largest investor in the mineral in the country after Canada and Australia, the Wilson Center noted. US firms have also ramped up their interest, but Chinese firms may have as much as a 10-year advantage on American ones, an expert told El País.

IMF and investors are worried about Milei’s economic plans

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Source:  
The Economist

Milei was briefly praised by the IMF and investors after his sweeping package of laws was approved by Congress in mid-June. But there is growing uncertainty over his controversial proposal to ultimately eliminate the central bank, The Economist noted. Investors are also concerned that the overvalued peso is making Argentina more expensive in dollar terms, deterring tourism and investment, and the government’s controlled exchange rate complicates recovery efforts. Despite Milei’s assurances that inflation will stabilize, costs continue to rise, and there’s a risk of a sharp currency correction.

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