Northern Ireland

Diplomatic fall out as EU endorses the Argentine name for the Falklands, Islas Malvinas

A view of Stanley in the Falklands. Picture, PA/Emma Hallett
A view of Stanley in the Falklands. Picture, PA/Emma Hallett

FOUR decades after the Falklands war, the UK's authority over the disputed territory has been questioned once again as the EU endorsed the Argentinian term for the islands - Islas Malvinas.

The diplomatic fallout emerged after a summit of EU leaders with their counterparts in Latin America and the Carribean (Celac) on Tuesday.

Brussels supported a declaration that referred to Islas Malvinas, which Buenos Aires is now claiming as a "diplomatic triumph".

The UK has now urgently called for the European Council's president, Charles Michel, to clarify the official position.

It was reported that an EU official later appeared to imply that the UK should not be surprised by the move after Brexit.

“This was agreed by 27 member states and the Celac countries. We cannot issue a statement on their behalf," they said.

“The UK is not part of the EU. They are upset by the use of the word Malvinas. If they were in the EU perhaps they would have pushed back against it.”

The official also added that “the Argentines have spun it in a certain way”.

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Argentina have now claimed victory in that it is the first time the EU has formally recognised the Latin American position on the islands.

The declaration reads: “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.”

Earlier this year, the UK had to repeat that the Falkland Islands were British when Argentina were said to have defied a cooperation deal in an attempt to reopen talks on the islands' sovereignty.

Commenting on the controversy, a spokesperson for the EU's diplomatic service said: “The EU member states have not changed their views/positions concerning 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.”

They added that the EU would not formally take any position on such issues without a council mandate.