Argentina’s plans to seize control of its biggest oil company YPF has drawn howls of protest from Madrid. Spain is angry as its energy giant Repsol has a controlling stake of nearly 60 per cent.
Vowing to take measures, Foreign Minister José Manuel García Margallo called the move unlawful: “The Spanish Government condemns the arbitrary decision taken by the government of the Republic of Argentina to expropriate the shares which Repsol has in the YPF Company.”
Industry and Energy Minister José Manuel Soria added: “Every gesture of hostility against a Spanish enterprise in the rest of the world is interpreted by Spanish government as a hostile gesture against Spain and its government.”
Argentina’s president justified the take-over saying, “the country should be able to control its own natural resources.”
Among ordinary Argentines the move is a popular one as they blame free-market policies for the current recession.
Over recent weeks Buenos Aires had been pushing the company to raise production to reduce the burden of fuel imports on the Argentine economy.