Falklands land grab: Argentina gloats after EU agrees to exclude islands from Brexit deal

Falklands land grab: Argentina gloats after EU agrees to exclude islands from Brexit deal

ARGENTINA's Foreign Minister Felipe Sola has taken to Twitter to crow about the exclusion of the Falkland Islands from the EU-UK Brexit deal - and implied he was instrumental in persuading the bloc to do so.

Meanwhile Daniel Filmus, who as Secretary of the Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic islands and is responsible for the South American country's policy towards the remote archipelago, has suggested the decision leaves Argentina better placed to claim sovereignty of the British Overseas Territory. The decision means Falklanders will no longer receive commercial, tax and customs benefits from the countries of the EU27 after the end of the year.

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, who has stepped up his country's claim since he was elected last year, raised the issue during his address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this year.

Mr Sola tweeted: "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."

Mr Filmus told Argentinian newspaper Clarin: "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."

Income from fishing accounts for 75 percent of the income of the Falkland islands, with squid, particularly important, so much so that Argentina has nicknamed Falklands residents as 'loligos', the word for squid in Spanish.

Initial estimates suggest from January 1, Falklanders will begin paying tariffs of between six percent and 18 percent for products entering the European market.

The 1,256-page document published by the Government this week confirms the exclusion in a section entitled Part Seven (Final Provisions).

This states: "This Agreement does not apply to the overseas territories having special relations with the United Kingdom: Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and Turks and Caicos Islands."

In his Christmas message to Falkland Islanders, Mr Johnson said: "Our commitment to the wellbeing of the islands and their people may have ruffled feathers in some quarters.

"But it serves as a reminder that even though you may be many thousands of miles away you are very much a part of the British family of nations that you will remain and that this government will be there for you come what may.

"That includes helping you manage the change that’s coming when the post-Brexit transition period ends later this month.

"The EU was absolutely intransigent when it came to excluding most of our overseas territories from this year’s trade negotiations.

"But you haven’t been forgotten or left behind."

In a reference to Falkland Islands Governor Nigel Phillips, he added: "We are going to work with Governor Phillips and your MLAs to support you during the change.

"And in the longer term our independent trade policy is going to open the door to all kinds of new markets for Falklands exports so that in the months and years ahead the world is going to be if not your oyster then certainly your loligo."

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