Brexit is going to have repercussions for the Falkland Islands. The trade agreement closed between the European Union and the United Kingdom excludes overseas territories. Which implies that products from the Malvinas that enter the European Union will have to pay tariffs.
This is a sensitive issue for the islands’ economy as it depends to a large extent on fish exports, and 90% of them go to Europe.
And it also affects Spain, since several Spanish companies have made “joint ventures” with the ilsas and the port of Vigo is the main gateway to the community territory.
In the Falklands, they hope to preserve the the state. “What we are asking for is incredibly simple: we just want to continue to be able to trade in a way that benefits us and benefits the EU,” explains Teslyn Barkman, member of the Malvinas Legislative Assembly. “Our squid are exported to the EU, our squid are enjoyed in Italy, in France and in many places where they want to enjoy magnificent top quality squid. We want these opportunities to continue.”
In February, Argentine President Alberto Fernández embarked on a diplomatic tour of Europe to ask for the Malvinas to be excluded from Brexit. Now, Argentine diplomats believe that the context can help restart negotiations on a dispute of almost two centuries.
“We aspire to have the support of all countries. I support in which direction? I support in the direction of opening a bilateral negotiation. Argentina does not ask that they agree with it, but rather that the United Kingdom sit down to talk about it. subject “, affirms Daniel Filmus, Argentine Secretary of State for the Falklands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic. “It cannot be that for 188 years, a part of Argentina has been usurped by a colonial power.”
In 1982, the Falklands were the scene of a war. The Argentine military regime was defeated by the British army when it tried to regain sovereignty over the territory.
Although all the EU countries supported a UN resolution for the decolonization of the islands, during the war they showed their support for the United Kingdom, as it was part of the bloc.
Experts believe that the UK’s exit from the EU could lead to change and strengthen Argentina’s position.
“The European Union in the future will have to debate on this issue, which does not necessarily mean that there will be a common position”, says Christian Ghymers, president of IRELAC, the Institute for Relations between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. ” The issue was not discussed during the Brexit negotiations, although we know that some countries are favorable to Argentina. For example, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Greece ”.
In this context, the British armed forces have started military exercises in the region. What has deserved criticism from Argentina. But one thing seems clear: the United Kingdom is not willing to give up a territory that it considers strategically important because of its proximity to Antarctica.