EFEBuenos Aires

The expropriation of Spanish energy company Repsol by the Argentine government in 2012 was an abuse of his country's laws, current President Mauricio Macri said.

In an exclusive interview to EFE released Thursday, Macri said the expropriation had been an abuse and that it violated Argentina's constitution.

"That was not an expropriation, it was a confiscation that over time became an expropriation," he said about the decision forced on Repsol by the government of former president Cristina Fernandez.

Macri said that, like so many wrong things done by the previous government, it was Repsol that came away with the best deal "because it sold at a higher oil price when oil was worth a fifth."

"Well, the truth is that nothing justifies violating the constitution of our country," Macri said. "We have a wonderful constitution upon which we will build the great Argentina we dream of."

Asked if he really expected Spanish companies to return to Argentina, Macri said there were many reasons for this to happen.

He said Spain and Argentina were brother nations with a long, shared history.

Macri said he had Spanish ancestry, like half of Argentina.

"Spaniards understand us better than anyone," he said. "They know how to interpret the reality of Argentina."

Macri said that Spaniards were the first to realize that "Argentina has returned to the world."

He said that Argentina today represents a great opportunity. He added that those who survived the last decade, which had been "very hard for many Spanish companies," knew they were stronger now and able to bet on Argentina and grow as a result.