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Alberto Fernández: ‘The economic program is going to help slow down inflation’

Just arrived in Paris, prior to the bilateral meeting that he will hold with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and will mark the end of his tour of Europe, Alberto Fernández answered questions for the first time from the Argentine envoys accompanying the official delegation. Hours after the figure for price increases for the month of April measured by INDEC is known, the President promised that “the economic program will help slow down inflation“, but assured that “no” is satisfied with the results and urged to work to “quickly stop the issue” because “it is very harmful and affects the less wealthy.”

In a round in which the Presidency authorized only four questions from the Argentine envoys within the framework of a tour in which Fernández has granted 7 individual interviews so far, the head of state was confident that if the International Monetary Fund carries out a review of the agreements for the doubt signed before the war, “it will also be applicable to Argentina”, and admitted that there is “dialogue” with the organism.

Finally, he ratified the rate increases, despite the request led by Kirchnerism and other sectors of the ruling party and social and union leaders to suspend them. He defended the segmentation, said that it is “necessary to do it” and defended the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, pointed out by the K.

He avoided confronting Cristina Kirchner, blamed the media -this time to the Spaniards and the Germans- because he understood that they wanted to “get into the ring” with her: he assured “not” that he wanted to fight with his vice but “with (Mauricio) Macri” and sent a message to the heart of the Front of All : “In 2023 we must do whatever it takes to win and guarantee that the macrismo and the right do not return,” he said.

-Journalists: He met with European leaders and expressed his concern about the war and that it will continue over time. Will this continuity of the war continue to affect Argentina? On the other hand, today the inflation rate is known, what is its reflection? Are we going the right way and is Minister Martín Guzmán’s anti-inflationary plan working?

-President: The economic program is going to help slow down inflation, of that we are sure. We are not satisfied or happy, we are far from being happy with the inflation rates that we have today in Argentina. We must continue working on that, as I have already told you on another occasion, our economic program has three pillars: production, work and the best distribution of income. We are growing a lot in the economy, we are generating many new formal jobs, but it is costing us a lot to distribute income. And that has a lot to do with inflation. And even when we encourage joint ventures to solve this problem, making wages above inflation, we have to seriously work on all the causes that cause inflation. Now, there is a percentage of that inflation, which I think is relatively high, which is derived from the increase in food prices and many supplies as a result of the war. We have to work hard on that because that element, that external cause, is not handled by us. And inflation is very harmful because it affects the less wealthy sectors, it is the tax that is charged to those who live on a salary. therefore we must quickly stop this topic.

-Journalist: In Argentina, the round of public hearings for tariffs is closed. These are increases that it promised to make within the framework of the economic program with the International Monetary Fund to reduce energy subsidies. There are sectors that promote a brake on these increases. I want to ask you if you ratify these increases or if there is a possibility that a review of the issue will be made?

-President: The increases suppose the application of segmentation in such a way that the wealthiest 10 percent that benefit from the subsidies stop doing so. It is a very progressive measure because it makes the one who has, pay; and that the weakest sectors continue to be served with subsidies. And furthermore, the increases that we are talking about are directly linked to how people’s salaries evolve in such a way that the increase in rates can never be higher than the salary increase of people, with which it has a very large distributive criterion. This, on the other hand, is not an imposition of the Fund, because we believe it is necessary to do so, because it is very difficult to think that the economy can continue to subsidize the richest in terms of energy. In addition, we see how the energy conflict has been unleashed from the war and how energy prices have skyrocketed. So we are working in that direction and we are very convinced that we are on the right track.

Journalists: In this world scenario that you have just described, can it affect the agreement with the International Monetary Fund that was signed before the war? Is there a dialogue with the Fund for an eventual readjustment in order to adjust it to the new reality?

President: The reality is that the IMF has already said that these agreements must be reviewed because the economy has been significantly altered. So if it’s an idea that. the Fund has will surely also apply to us. We have to see exactly how the repercussions of the effects of the war are in Argentina. Already the first indication is very negative, which is inflation. When they tell me that Argentina can benefit from the increase in commodities, I don’t like that we win because there is a war unleashed. And also because I know that it is very difficult to decouple international prices from domestic ones. And there the problem becomes much more complicated. Therefore, when the time comes, the Fund will promote it as it has said publicly”

-Journalists: A few hours ago, the Minister of Security, Aníbal Fernández, an important leader of his government, made a statement confirming that you are going to be a candidate next year to try to be re-elected, and suggested that there could be a competition with Cristina. Do you see that scenario of an eventual passage with the vice president?

President: A Spanish journalist did a report on me for a very important newspaper in his country. Throughout the interview he brought to the stage the differences we can have with Cristina. The entire report tried to get me in the ring to fight her. And the truth is that I don’t have to fight with Cristina and I don’t want to fight with Cristina. I have to fight with Macri, I have to fight with the right, with those who caused Argentina’s decline, those who generated the debt that we are still discussing today, those who brought about the loss of 20 percent of real wages that we have to recover to better distribution of income. That’s where my head is set: on solving the problems of Argentines, limiting the damage that the international context generates in Argentina and helping those most in need and lifting those who are in need out of poverty. My head is there. The truth is that I’m not arguing with Cristina, I’m not arguing with any intern or thinking about my re-election.

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