Spain rejects Argentinian claim its PM is causing ‘poverty and death’

Spain rejects Argentinian claim its PM is causing ‘poverty and death’

Spain has denounced comments by Argentina’s presidency that accused the Spanish government of bringing “poverty and death” to its own people.

The office of the Argentinian president, Javier Milei, had published a statement on X, accusing the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, of damaging Spain’s economy and stability.

The post appears to have been in reaction to earlier comments from the Spanish transport minister, Óscar Puente, who had suggested, during a panel discussion in Salamanca on Friday, that Milei had ingested “substances” during last year’s election campaign.

Milei’s office released a statement on Saturday condemning the remarks while also attacking Sánchez.

It accused Sánchez of “endangering Spanish women by allowing illegal immigration” and undermining Spain’s integrity by making deals with separatists, an allusion to a pact Sánchez’s Socialist Workers’ party struck with Basque and Catalan regionalist parties to form a government, while suggesting his leftist policies brought “death and poverty”.

That provoked a rebuke from the Spanish foreign ministry who said: “The Spanish government categorically rejects the unfounded words … which do not reflect the relations between the two countries and their fraternal people.”

After the election of Milei, a rightwing populist who took the helm in December, relations between Argentina and Spain, ruled by a left-wing coalition led by Saánchez’s Socialist Workers’ party, have significantly cooled.

Milei will travel to Spain in two weeks for an event on 18 and 19 May organised by the far-right opposition party Vox, which is in a race with the socialists in next month’s European elections.

Agence France-Presse and Reuters contributed to this report