The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, begins his first trip to Argentina, Chile and Brazil this Saturday deepen political and economic ties, with energy diversification, renewable energies, the fight against climate change and the defense of multilateralism as central points on its agenda.
According to German government spokesman Streffen Hebestreit, the trip “underlines relevance as a partner of the region”an aspect that was also underlined by Valeska Hesse, head of the Latin America and Caribbean Department of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), affiliated with Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).
a forgotten region
That the chancellor is now undertaking a trip to these three countries is for Hesse “a very important and positive sign” to underline that the region, which really hasn’t been paid enough attention to for many years, “is now even of greater importance and priority for Germany and the EU”.
The points that Scholz will address have been important for years, but now they are relevant again in the “context of ‘Zitenwende’” – the transition to a new era accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and the search for “new partners” and “strategic alliances”.
“People have realized that we need to look more towards other countries and regions where we have reliable partners“, he stressed.
They are also countries with progressive governments and the fact that they are “like-minded governments” in this sense could also play an important role for the social democratic chancellor to propose joint projects, according to Hesse.
He recalled that in general most Latin American countries they are democracieswith all the challenges that naturally exist in these nations.
And when it comes to defending democracy against the rise of authoritarian regimes, Latin America is also an “ally”.
Raw materials and energy
But in addition to issues of “common values” such as democracy and multilateralism, on economic issues such as energy, the diversification of suppliers of energy, green hydrogen and raw materialsthe region plays an important role, he added.
There, cooperation should be designed so that Latin America too benefitespecially on sustainability issues, he underlined.
For Orlando Baquero, director general of the Association for Latin America (LAV) – a network of companies for the economic sector with interests in that region – Latin America, “after so many years in a small oblivion” has become interesting again for Europe.
He stressed that it was important for the association that talks were held again “at the highest level”, especially with Brazil, the principal country for German affairs in South America, with “enormous potential”.
Brazil is a “strategic partner” in energy generation, he underlined, and recalled that 85% of the investments in renewables made by German companies take place in that country.
The visit to Argentina is, according to Baquero, equally important in this It is the second most important country in the regiondespite having difficulties in many economic areas and where everything indicates that he will enroll a cooperation agreement for start-ups and innovation, She said.
Chile is a strategic partner in green hydrogen and renewables, but also in raw materials such as copper, needed in the energy transition, and lithium, vital for batteries, he added.
Another of the economic objectives of this tour is to finally be able to close the free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, for which, Hesse stressed, it is important to demonstrate that these commercial relationships will be “balanced” and disparate the doubts and skepticism that countries like Brazil or Argentina can have.
Especially in Brazil the issue of climate change and the protection of the Amazon will be another important issue, with the prospect of Germany unfreezing the Amazon Fund after Lula’s election victory.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.