Why is Europe lending money to Argentina?
by Matthew Sinclair
From nationalising foreign oil companies and mistreating its creditors to overbearing trade rules and threats to reclaim the Falklands Islands – Argentina's poor behaviour should not be repaid with massive World Bank loans, argues pressure group
European countries have repeatedly found themselves the victims of aggression from the Argentinian government: Spain with the nationalisation of their oil company Repsol's majority stake in the firm YPF; the European Union as a whole which has felt it necessary to file a suit against Argentina's import restrictions with the World Trade Organisation; and Britain has seen threats of legal action and boycotts as part of the facile Argentinian claim on the Falkland Islands. Why are we repaying all that hostility with support for World Bank loans to the country that total $16.2bn?
European countries are generous supporters of the World Bank and its affiliated institutions and major shareholders. Britain's share alone of those loans to Argentina is more than £225m. If they announced a policy of voting against new loans, it would be a real response to the many ways in which they have been snubbed by Cristina Kirchner's government. We should be using those votes to oppose new lending. That wouldn't even require us to take a lead. The Barack Obama Administration in the United States has already announced that they will vote against any loans thanks to the way that Argentina has treated her creditors.
In September 2011, the assistant secretary for international markets and development at the US Treasury, Marisa Lago, said that America "will oppose lending to Argentina in the two multilateral development banks in which Argentina participates - that's the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank", adding: "We will make exceptions in those rare circumstances in which the proposed loan would be targeted very effectively and very narrowly on poor and vulnerable populations because we don't believe they should be suffering because of their country's activities."
The TaxPayers' Alliance has launched an e-petition on the British government's official website, which people can sign at StopFundingArgentina.org, calling on the British Government to follow suit. So far it is doing quite well, having reached more than 5,000 signatures in just over a few days. At the moment, the United Kingdom government seems to be on bureaucratic autopilot on this issue; sticking to the status quo of giving loans to Argentina the same case by case treatment as loans from countries that are not behaving so poorly.
Pressure is just going to build though, as the media, the public and parliamentarians ask why we are supporting loans to a country that has been attacking Britain at every opportunity, and threatening the right of the people of the Falkland Islands to remain British. Other European countries have their own reasons to oppose these loans as well. It is time to stop funding Argentina.
Matthew Sinclair is director of The TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group, in the United Kingdom
"Why is Europe lending money to Argentina?" Because there is profit involved and profits have no country, religion or conscience.
Tom Phelan - Phoenix, AZ, USA
Another piece of colonial propaganda.
The right of the people of the Falklands. They´d have the right if they could be considered "people" according to international law, but they cannot. Only 30 per cent of them were born on the islands. No self-determination right shall be considered in this case.
Federico Fernández Reigosa - Rosario, Argentina