For more insight on the escalating row between Spain and Argentina over the nationalisation of Repsol’s subsidiary YPF, euronews went to John Clancy, the spokesperson for the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, and asked him what action the EU can take?
John Clancy, EU Trade Commissioner’s spokesperson:
“We want to make clear at an EU level that the EU, the Commission is fully behind Spain in its concerns. We have raised our concerns already with the Argentinian authorities and we will continue to do so.
The reason being, at a European level, why we have to underline these concerns to the Argentinian authorities is simply because investors, businesses – European or international – look for stability and predictability when it comes to locating their investments around the world and this kind of action, this action which is being undertaken in respect of Repsol, of course, undermines that kind of stability investors are seeking.”
euronews: “You talk of support, you talk of concern, but what will you actually do (in conjunction) with Spain?”
John Clancy: “We have cancelled a meeting later this week in Argentina between the EU and the Argentinian authorities. Now that was a meeting which was already on the agenda for many weeks, months, so it is not directly related to the Repsol issue. However I think it sends a very clear signal to the Argentinian authorities that we have serious concerns.”
euronews: “Repsol has been quite clear in its call for compensation.Will the EU back that claim?”
John Clancy: “Well of course it’s for Repsol and the Spanish government to decide on the appropriate legal steps which they wish to take.”
euronews: “You are pushing the ball back to Repsol; do you not think it is critical the EU takes action, that you are seen to take action as a message to other countries and a message of support to the whole bloc?”
John Clancy: “Well we are taking action, we are raising our concerns at the highest diplomatic level and President Barroso himself sent a very clear message today when he spoke on this matter to the Argentinian authorities. Our concerns are out there, they are clear, we are not happy about this move.”
euronews: “How critical do you think the timing is here because it is not a good time for Spain with their increasing debt problems?”
John Clancy: “I don’t think it is a question of good or bad timing. What investors, businesses, European and others, are looking for is stability and predictability and this kind of action is the kind of action that in fact sends the opposite kind of message to these kind of key businesses. That’s not good for Europe but it’s also not good for the Argentinian economy.”