Milei meets Biden, Pope Francis, IMF head Georgieva at G7 summit

The president met the IMF head after the lender approved an US$800 million disbursement

Argentine President Javier Milei kicked off his formal agenda at the G7 summit on Friday morning by meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the official host of the event. Later in the day, he briefly met U.S. President Joe Biden for the first time since taking office and embraced Pope Francis. He is also expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and World Bank head Ajay Banga.  

But Milei’s most anticipated meeting was his sitdown with International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Kristalina Georgieva, which took place following the Fund’s approval of the eighth review of its agreement with Argentina that unlocked an US$800 million disbursement to the country.

“I always love these meetings, because I feel you are hyper-transparent and we connect with each other through transparency,” Milei told Georgieva as he met her. “The other way we connect with each other is that both of us love economics,” she answered, enthusiastically.

The international lender noted in a brief release Thursday evening that Argentina’s program was “firmly on track,” with all performance criteria met. However, it called on the government to continue to support the vulnerable and improve the “quality of fiscal adjustment.”

Last Tuesday, Economy Minister Luis Caputo said the government would start negotiating a new program with the IMF once this review was finalized. However, neither the Fund nor the government mentioned this in the statements they released following the announcement of the review approval.

On Friday, Gita Gopinath, the Fund’s First Deputy Managing Director, also congratulated the government for their “stabilization plan,” but said that it should “reform personal income tax, rationalize subsidies and tax expenditures, and strengthen expenditure controls.” She also said that “deeper reforms of the tax, pension, and revenue-sharing systems, including to unwind distortive taxes” would be critical.

Gopinath demanded that the exchange rate — now subject to a monthly 2% depreciation against the U.S. dollar — should become “more flexible.”

“Risks, although moderated, are still elevated, requiring agile policy making,” she added.

Milei’s stay in Europe will continue after the summit in Switzerland, where he will attend the Ukraine peace summit. He will return to Argentina on Sunday and then go back to Europe, specifically Spain and Germany, a few days later. 

Milei is set to be back in Madrid after his controversial appearance at a Vox gathering in May. On June 21, he will receive recognition from the Juan Mariana Institute for his “exemplary defense of the ideas of freedom,” according to the organization’s website. The following day, he will be awarded the Hayek Medal in Germany, an award created in honor of Nobel Prize in Economics winner Frederic von Hayek. 

Amnesty calls on G7 leaders to address “human rights situation” in Argentina

Human rights organization Amnesty published a letter they sent to G7 foreign ministers attending the summit in Italy, calling on them to address the human rights situation in Argentina with President Javier Milei.

The NGO pointed out that Milei has expressed “violent and provocative attitudes in his public speeches and on his social networks,” while adding that his government has “displayed a policy of repression to pacific demonstrations that promotes the reduction of civic space.”

The Amnesty letter comes on the heels of the violent crackdown police forces carried out on Wednesday against people protesting the Senate session that was debating Milei’s flagship reform proposal known as the Ley Bases. 

According to the Argentine NGO Coordinator of Police and Institutional Repression (CORREPI, for its Spanish initials), 35 people were arrested during the incidents. Human rights watchdog CELS called the government’s actions a way of “criminalizing” social protest. 

Five Unión por la Patria (UxP) coalition deputies present during the protests were taken to the hospital after Naval Police teargassed them in front of Congress.


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