Argentina says it could exploit no-deal Brexit to 'enhance' relations with Falklands
A no-deal Brexit could boost Argentine efforts to “enhance” relations with the Falkland Islands, according to the foreign minister of Argentina.
Jorge Faurie highlighted that EU member states will no longer be obliged via EU treaty to support the UK’s claim over the islands.
He made the controversial comments after a meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The islands are currently recognised as a British overseas territory under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which other EU nations are obliged to support under the bloc’s Duty of Sincere Cooperation agreement.
But a no-deal Brexit could see other EU member states free from that obligation, despite a 2013 referendum which found at 99.8% of the Falkland Islanders wished to remain under British rule.
Mr Faurie told the Telegraph: “Our planning for Las Malvinas [the Argentine name for the islands] is to have a negotiation that will enable stronger relations between the people on the islands and the people on the continent.
“And we hope that the non-Brexit [no-deal] solution will enhance the possibility of that dialogue to be truly one with the results.”
He added: “If you think member states [of the EU] would not sustain the Malvinas claim in favour of the UK, we are there… to talk, to negotiate, to see what would be the best solution for the people in the islands to be much more in touch with Argentina.”
Theresa May is set to meet with Argentine President Mauricio Marci next month amid growing uncertainty about the future of the islands.
A report from the UK Overseas Territories Association found that the Falklands economy could be severely damaged by a no-deal Brexit due to its reliance on tariff free access to EU markets to sell its fish and meat.
The report found that 70% of the country’s GDP relied on the trade link with the EU, warning that a loss of access to the EU single market could be “catastrophic” for its economy.