Unfortunately, I’m not able to be with you in person in Buenos Aires today. However, I recently met a Porteño here in Europe, whom you all know: His Holiness Pope Francis. We spoke about Latin America – and, of course, life in the pandemic.
The virus has hit all our countries hard – and I know that the situation is particularly difficult for Argentina and the region as a whole.
Yet, looking ahead to the future gives us cause for hope.
The world has developed vaccines at record speed. And we’re seeing international solidarity in action:
the COVAX Facility, whose second largest donor is Germany, has now delivered more than 80 million vaccine doses to two thirds of countries worldwide – and around two million to Argentina.
The European Union alone exports more vaccines than all other industrialised nations together – much of it via COVAX to Latin America.
And there’s more help in the pipeline – that’s the clear message that we wanted to send from the G7 summit in Cornwall.
These vaccine successes show one thing quite clearly: we are not defenceless in the face of the global challenges of our time. We can form and shape them – if we work together.
That applies to the pandemic. However, it also applies to the digital transformation, globalisation or climate change.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We in Argentina and Germany know that. And I’m grateful to Felipe Solá for giving me this opportunity to put forward these ideas together on the international stage.
Our countries are committed to international cooperation and a rules-based world order.
We’re aware of the importance of democratic debates, an independent judiciary and universal human rights as a bulwark against authoritarian tendencies.
And we share an interest in an open economic model centred around people, and not the market or the state.
All of this formed the basis on which we launched the Federal Foreign Office Latin America Initiative two years ago.
And we want to build on that in order to take our relations to a new level:
Germany supports the agreement between the EU and Mercosur, with which we want to combine free trade with high social and ecological standards.
However, the close economic ties between our countries need an update.
Economic reforms, stability and a stable environment for German investors in your country will help here.
But we, too, are prepared to do more:
with a start-up bridge between our countries,
with closer links with Industrie 4.0,
and, not least, through opportunities in the sphere of dual vocational training for young Argentinians.
And we also have much to offer each other when it comes to mastering the global energy transition. Wind energy has made Argentina one of the most promising producers of green hydrogen. In future, Germany will be one of the world’s biggest customers.
At the same time, German companies often lead the way when it comes to clean power generation technology, as well as transmission and storage technology.
All in all, there’s huge potential for a German-Argentinian energy partnership, which is currently being discussed by our Economics Ministries.
What’s more, Argentina is also a priority country of our Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative. Our ministries are about to launch a project on decarbonisation and climate resilience.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we’re launching the Foro Futuro with the aim of making even faster progress on these issues. In a moment, Ambassador Sante will talk in greater detail about its work.
It is especially important to me that this forum strengthens what makes our relations so special: the closeness between the people of our countries.
This closeness is symbolised by the 30 PASCH schools, 200 German companies and, not least, more than a million people in your country with German roots.
Faraway, So Close! is the title of a famous film by the German director Wim Wenders. The title sounds as if it’s describing our friendship.
Let’s work together to continue this friendship and take it forward into the future.
Thank you very much!