EU Signs Deal With Argentina Calling Falklands "Malvinas Islands"

The Foreign Office has dealt a blow following the apparent recognition by the European Union of the Argentine name for the Falkland Islands.

eu signs deal with argentina calling falklands malvinas islands

EU leaders met with officials of 33 Latin American countries, known as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Brussels earlier this week and signed the EU-CELAC summit declaration (pdf). The document referred to the contested Falkland Islands as “Islas Malvinas,” which is the Argentine name for the territory.

Argentina has been continuously claiming the British-run islands in the South Atlantic, over which the two countries fought a war in 1982.

“Regarding the question of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands, the European Union took note of CELAC’s historical position based on the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in the peaceful solution of disputes,” the declaration said.

Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Santiago Cafiero hailed the move as a “triumph of diplomacy” on Twitter.

The Argentine government hopes to further dialogue with the EU regarding the Malvinas Islands, Mr. Cafiero said, adding it was a further call for the UK to resume sovereignty negotiations with Argentina.

Following the Brussels meeting and the motion on the Malvinas question, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez posted on Twitter: “Our sovereignty claim, by peaceful means and through dialogue, remains intact.”

The conflict over sovereignty rights to the archipelago is ongoing, following a 2013 referendum, where the islanders voted to retain their political status as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union in 2020, the EU declined to allow the Falklands to be part of the UK-EU trade agreement. As a result, the territory faces tariffs on its exports to the EU.

CELAC countries support Argentina’s ambition to continue international negotiations over the futures of the contested islands. During the Brussels summit, CELAC negotiators argued that Brexit was another reason to continue the discussion since the Falkland Islands were no longer an overseas territory of an EU member state.

In response to the EU using the Malvinas name for the islands, Lord Davies of Gower called the bloc’s decision “appalling.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who met with his Argentine counterpart in the margins of the G20 summit, said that Falklanders “have chosen to remain a self-governing UK Overseas Territory.”

Argentine’s push for fresh talks on sovereignty was “a disappointing decision,” according to the Americas minister David Rutley.

His comments came after Buenos Aires withdrew from the 2016 joint communique, in which UK and Argentina agreed to work together on various issues, including cooperation in international peace and security.

“There cannot be any dialogue on sovereignty unless the Falkland Islanders wish it,” Mr. Rutley said.

He argued it was “absurd” to suggest that the Falklanders don’t deserve “the democratic rights we expect of ourselves.”

In the aftermath of the EU-CELAC declaration, the spokesman for the European External Action Service, Peter Stano, told the Independent newspaper that the EU member states have not changed their views on the Falklands/Malvinas Islands.

“The EU is not in a situation to express any position on the Falklands/Malvinas, as there has not been any council [of member states] discussion or decision on this matter. The EU does not take any position on such issues without a council mandate,” Mr. Stano said.

The EU-CELAC declarations reaffirmed the shared values of democratic values, including the principles of sovereignty and self-determination “in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states.”

The signatories agreed to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity.

Last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the UK’s commitment to the islands’ right to self-determination. His remarks came ahead of the 190th anniversary of the reassertion of British sovereignty over the islands in 1833.

Authored by Evgenia Filimianova via The Epoch Times July 21st 2023