EU causes row by using ‘Las Malvinas’ to describe Las Malvinas

Falklands war memorial
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The EU has backed down after a row about what the Falkland Islands/Las Malvinas are called. The remote South Atlantic archipelago is populated by British loyalists, but is claimed by Argentina. The two countries fought a brief, brutal war over the islands in 1982.

The argument developed after Brussels supported an Argentinian motion at a summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Indeed, even 41 years after losing the actual war, Argentina declared a victory.

Naturally, the British railed against the decision, calling on the EU to clarify its positions.

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However, the EU swiftly suggested the issue is an outcome of Brexit while acknowledging “the Argentines have spun it in a certain way”:

This was agreed by 27 member states and the Celac countries.

They added:

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.

Read on...

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According to the Guardian, the declaration in question 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.

Malvinas Mood

The UK maintains that the islands are British, a position which hinges off the loyalty of the entire population to the UK.

PM Rishi Sunak blasted the EU’s decision. A spokesperson told Sky News:

To be clear, the Falkland Islands are British, that was the choice of the islanders themselves

However, by this time the EU seemed to have backed down on the issue. An EU official said the bloc’s positions had not changed. Sunak’s spokesperson noted:

The EU has rightly now clarified that their position on the Falklands has not changed after their regrettable choice of words.

It was also pointed out that in a 2013 referendum “99.8% of islanders voted to be part of the UK family”. Sunak’s spokesperson said this position was established in law and the UN charter:

On and on

Rows over who actually should have the islands flare up fairly regularly. And deep bitterness over the 1982 war remains. After all, 255 British and 649 Argentinians died in the conflict, which saw highly trained British troops fight it out with mostly Argentinian conscripts.

If or how the conflict will ever be truly resolved is unclear, but the UK remains committed to holding on to the islands. Ultimately, the enduring loyalty of the residents to Britain seems no more likely to wane than Argentina’s ambitions.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Alex Petrenko, cropped to 1910 x 1000, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Your headline implies that you feel the islands should be called the Malvinas: is it only British colonialism you object to?
      Argentina didn’t even exist when the British claimed the Falklands and as far as I know there are no indigenous peoples claiming them, and if they did exist they would be unlikely to use the name chosen by the Spanish/Argentinian colonialists.
      The Falklands war was the result of two massively unpopular governments trying to shore up their election prospects by winning a colonial war, and the territorial interest has nothing to do with who people’s the land, but who has access to the roughly one billion barrels of oil underneath the territory.
      Were there a genuine indigenous peoples claim, hopefully CELAC would be encouraging them to leave the oil in the ground as the islanders certainly have no need for it, being in a perfect situation for renewable energy.

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