Interview with Maximiliano Gabriel Gregorio CERNADAS, Ambassador of Argentina

How do you feel in Hungary? What do you think about our country?

Well, we feel like home since the beginning. I have four children who are between six and thirteen years of age. In fact Hungary, especially Budapest, became our home.

In recent times, Argentina was often in the focus regarding its economic problems. Could you tell us more about these problems?

We know exactly how to deal with this crisis in Argentina. The current situation is the price of our mistakes we made in the past. However, the government is still doing its best to solve this crisis. This time, we want to conclude a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund. This may be the basis for a long-term solution to the situation.

How do you think the European Union can help Argentina get out of this situation?

There are many ways: One of their options is to assist in opening our market. In Argentina, we produce many products of world-class quality. We can be competitive, but as I said, it is necessary to open up the market. Currently, we are in the last period of concluding an agreement regarding the common market between South America and the European Union.

What do you think about the relationship between Hungary and Argentina?

I think we have a lot in common. You know, great many Hungarian immigrants came to Argentina in different times. For example, following the Revolution of 1848, just like János Czetz. The Hungarian community in Argentina is very big, very creative and very important. This is the basis for understanding each other. People come and go and help to build this relationship.

Trade is an important topic worldwide and especially in the Western Hemisphere. What is the Argentinean Government's position on free trade and trade wars?

The new Argentinean government is relatively fresh, entered into office two and a half years ago. This government is quite open towards the world. Foreign policy is very important for us as the main directive, boosting trade and investment. We are very enthusiastic about market opening. This is the fundamental philosophy of the current Argentinean government.

At the moment, Migration is one of the most important topics in Europe and the Middle East. Latin America has to cope with the wave of refugees coming from Venezuela. Has this wave reached Argentina yet? How can you deal with this situation?

In Argentina, this situation is completely different from what we see in Europe. Argentina is the country of immigration. At the beginning of the 17th century, more foreigners lived in Buenos Aires than local residents. We welcome refugees from all around the world. They are coming from Asia, Africa, Europe, etc. Their ethnicity is very mixed. Our constitution clearly states that those who enter the country are entitled to the same rights as local residents. So being a foreigner in Argentina is a very positive thing. We have enough space and food for many millions of people. Of course, we know that now we see a very special situation in Venezuela. We received thousands of people from there.

As you know, Hungary has launched the policy of Southern Opening some years ago. How do you see this in Argentina?

I think the policy of Southern Opening is a wonderful initiative that the Hungarians have launched. This is interesting because it may open up many possibilities. No such thing has happened with the previous governments. So I think we need to benefit from this special situation.

Which are the most important topics in the bilateral relationship between the two countries?

I would say: trade and investments. These are the most important initiatives we are working hard on, of course, on both sides. We have some of our core products that we export and import. For example, Argentina has been exporting peanuts, fish and other similar products to Hungary for a long time. However, we can start thinking about other types of products as well. We are able to open new horizons. Such area is water management, which is very developed in Hungary. This is what we desperately need in South America. I have always been in favor of reaching an agreement between the two capitals, Buenos Aires and Budapest. István Tarlós went to Argentina last November and signed an agreement.

Argentineans are said to be the "most European people" in the western hemisphere. Do you agree?

I do! At the beginning of the 19 century, mostly Europeans lived in Buenos Aires. We are talking about a mixed population. In Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires, it is not really possible to find ghettos. I mean, people live together. Although there are religious and other differences between people, we can say that European culture has a great influence. For instance, this makes it possible to communicate easily with the Hungarians.

So this is what helps you during your work?

Absolutely. Wherever I go, open gates and arms are waiting for me. My job is very easy in Hungary.

Let's talk a little about Argentina's culture. What should we know if we want to travel there?

The travelers can experience that there are wonderful sights to see. You can visit the Iguazu Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world. In the eastern part, there is a long mountain range that is enormous. Many lakes and forests can be found in the south-east. Travelers can see huge lakes, waterfalls, and snowy mountains. Buenos Aires is one of the world's most amazing cities where millions of people live, never sleep, experience the culture and doing tango. The average Argentinean residents even dine at midnight or walk in the streets with their children.

What can we eat there? Is there any kind of traditional food?

If you visit a simple restaurant in Buenos Aires, you can see that the menu is very thick. One can find French dishes, Spanish tortillas, etc. Many national dishes can be found because people originate from many different nations. For example, the pasta menu seems infinite because immigrants came from many parts of Italy. So the menu of restaurants is like a mirror that reflects history and the multiplicity of our society.

What dishes do you like in Hungary? What do you like within our culture?

Well, I've realized that the Hungarian gastronomy is extraordinary. Naturally, goulash is the best. Hungarian goose liver is also wonderful. Of course, I like the wines as well.

 

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The GLOBS is the only magazine in Hungary that focuses on foreign affairs and trade. The topics cover the different aspects of social life, business and culture (especially business culture), research and development, investment opportunities, charity initiatives, and the everyday life of the diplomatic delegations.
 
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