The European Union parliament on Friday condemned Argentina’s move to seize control of the YPF division of Spanish oil and gas company Repsol and demanded that EU takes action against Buenos Aires at the World Trade Organization.
The parliament also called on the EU to look at the “possible partial suspension of the unilateral tariff preferences” as a way of punishing any country that attempts to nationalise a European company’s assets.
Argentina says it is making the move — which would take control of 51 per cent of YPF, leaving Repsol with a 6 per cent stake — because Repsol has not invested enough in the country’s oil industry.
Repsol YPF SA and Spain have slammed Argentina’s re-nationalization of YPF as outright “pillaging” and an attack on their interests. The company’s chief executive, Antonio Brufau, told reporters Wednesday that YPF is worth $18.3 billion, and he valued Repsol’s stake at $10.5 billion.
The European parliament called the re-nationalization “an attack on the exercise of free enterprise and the principle of legal certainty” which hurt Argentina.
The resolution, backed by the major parties in the Strasbourg-based legislature, also calls on European Commission to take up the issue at the WTO and the G20 platforms and explore measures to better protect EU interests in future.
Spain also took its first retaliatory step Friday, announcing it would approve a measure promoting domestic biodiesel fuel production, thereby reducing biodiesel imports from Argentina.