Callanan: EU ministers should discuss Argentina’s G20 expulsion

2010-02-24 Callanan

EU foreign ministers meeting next week should discuss launching a joint initiative to expel Argentina from the G20, the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan MEP, said today.

He has written to EU High Representative Catherine Ashton asking her to place Argentina on the agenda of Monday’s meeting. It comes after the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Argentina’s expropriation of the YPF oil company this lunchtime.

Mr Callanan’s letter is below:

Dear High Representative Ashton,

RE: Argentina’s membership of the G20

As you will be aware, the European Parliament has today adopted a hard-hitting resolution on the recent nationalisation and expropriation of the YPF oil company by Argentina.

This matter, and the ongoing interference in the economic sovereignty of the Falkland islands, are merely the tip of the iceberg. In reality, for many years Argentina has been an economic pariah state which refuses to abide by the basic norms and standards we expect of G20 members.

Argentina owes almost £10 billion to private creditors. The World Bank is lending Argentina £4.78 billion yet she has refused to honour the rulings of its arbitration arm. It has repeatedly breached treaty obligations under the ICSID. It refuses to allow the IMF to review its public accounts. Its policies of economic nationalism and price controls run contrary to the principles of an open, trading G20 bloc.

Hard-hitting words from the European Union are only playing to President Kirchner’s nationalist agenda, bolstering her position against the West. Instead, the EU needs to take economic actions to make it clear to Argentina that its economic heresy will be met with actions as well as words.

Therefore, I urge you to place Argentina on the agenda for Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting, with a view to discussing both the EU’s economic response to the events of the past week, and the possibility of the EU and its G20 member states jointly launching an initiative to expel Argentina from the G20. Such an action is the only way the EU can send a strong signal that will make the administration sit up and listen. The USA has taken significant action already, including the automatic adoption of sanctions as a result of Argentinian arrears of $6 billion to the Paris Club countries.

With the global economy in such a delicate state, it falls to the industrialised economies to ensure that international financial systems and standards are not compromised. Argentina has been flouting the rules of the game for many years, yet we have watched on. I call on you to put this matter on the agenda, so that the EU can finally lance this boil on the global economy.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Callanan MEP,

Leader, European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament


Notes: The ECR group is made up of 52 MEPs from nine EU countries. The ECR alliance contains the Prime Ministers of the UK and Czech Republic.