Falkland Islands representatives are seeking to continue the “status quo” on trade in fish which they said as benefited both the European Union and communities of the British overseas territory in the South Atlantic. Given the importance to the Falkland’s economy of exports of fish to the European market, the decision to exclude the islands from the historic EU-UK Brexit trade deal ratified last month risks very serious implications.
Teslyn Barkman, a member of the Falklands Legislative Assembly told Euronews that “their request is incredibly simple.”
She said: “We just want to continue to be able to trade in a way that benefits us and benefits the EU.
“So, from the EU our calamari is enjoyed in Italy, in France, and everywhere someone can go and enjoy some gorgeous top-quality squid and we want to keep these opportunities flowing.”
Industry chiefs have stated the value of squid caught in the waters surrounding the islands is worth £180million as of 2019.
Under the Brexit deal, the UK and EU agreed the terms would not apply to any overseas territory.
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.
The exclusion of the Falklands Islands was welcomed by Argentinian authorities, with the decision coming on the back of a diplomatic tour of Europe by the country’s President Alberto Fernández during which he met French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel.
Argentine diplomats are reportedly pushing for talks to resume over the almost two centuries-long dispute of the islands Buenos Aires claims as Las Malvinas and a part of Argentina.
“We aim at having the support of all countries,” Daniel Fernando Filmus, Argentinian state secretary for the Malvinas told Euronews.
“Argentina is not asking everyone to agree though, but rather that the United Kingdom sits down to discuss this matter, in the same way it did with Spain over Gibraltar. It’s not possible that for the last 188 years a part of Argentina has been usurped by a colonial power.”