The Falkland Islands‘ were thrown into the centre of the Brexit debate after Prime Minister Boris Johnson passed his trade deal with the EU. The British overseas territory was excluded from the agreement between London and Brussels, meaning it will not benefit from commercial, tax and customs advantages that have been negotiated. Products from the Falklands may be slapped with tariffs, presenting a huge economic challenge for the Islands. The territory exports 90 percent of its fish to Europe.
Local residents are hoping for a return to the status quo, as 60 percent of the local government revenue comes from the fishery-related sector and 40 percent of GDP is dependent on the relationship with the EU.
The issue will come as good news to some in Argentina however, as reports in August suggested that the country’s government was planning a “strong diplomatic offensive” to try to gain an advantage over the Falklands.
One of the objectives in this plan, according to the report, was for the Falklands to be excluded from the Brexit deal.
This was outlined in a column published in Argentine news agency Infobae by Martin Dinatale, a political reporter familiar to Argentine foreign policy affairs.
Foreign minister Felipe Solá said that the recovery of full sovereignty exercise over the Malvinas – as the Falklands are called in Argentina – is a State policy and a strong feeling of the Argentine people, adding that “the strategy is on the right track”.
When the Brexit deal excluded the Falklands, Mr Sola expressed his relief.
He said: “Finally, the post-Brexit agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom did not include the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
“We ask this in all the forums and meetings that we held in 2020 with European ministers of Foreign Affairs.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Filmus, Secretary of the Malvinas, also said he was pleased with the outcome.
He said: “The non-incorporation of the Malvinas Islands to the Brexit agreement was one of the issues that Foreign Minister Felipe Sola put in the talks with Josep Borrell (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), and with all European foreign ministers with whom he has spoken this year and with whom he has been raising the Argentine position regarding the validity of UN resolution 2065 and the existence of a controversy regarding the exercise of sovereignty, which according to our rights and our constitution corresponds to Argentina.
“The EU decision not to include the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich respects this view.”
After Argentine President Alberto Fernandez won the 2019 election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was met with a crushing warning when he congratulated him for his victory.
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Downing Street’s official Twitter said on October 29: “Congratulations to Alberto Fernandez on winning Argentina’s presidential election.
“We look forward to working with your new government to continue to strengthen the UK-Argentina relationship – PM Boris Johnson.”
But the Argentine President-elect replied: “Thanks to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the greeting. Without giving up our claim of sovereignty, we must work together to strengthen the ties between the Argentine and British people, who share much more than we imagine.”
Gavin Short, News Editor of Falklands Radio, has accused Buenos Aires of ignoring international law in their pursuit to reclaim the archipelago.
He told Express.co.uk in November 2019: “I am afraid to say that having lived next door to Argentina all of my life, I take a rather jaundiced view of their respect for laws both national and international.
“They tend to happily turn a blind eye to anything that stops them from doing what they want to.
“One example being their complete disdain for what they had signed up to under UNCLOS when they were trying to impose a blockade on the Falklands.”