By STEWART CARR and MARTIN ROBINSON at dailymail.co.uk
Britain is furious with the European Union after it refused to reverse a decision to refer to the Falklands as the ‘Islas Malvinas’ in a treaty signed in Brussels this week.
The archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean has been at the centre of a dispute for centuries. It culminated in the Falklands War of 1982, in which 255 British servicemen lost their lives after Argentina’s military dictatorship invaded.
A document calling the British Overseas Territory both the ‘Islas Malvinas’, Argentina’s politically-charged and favoured name for them, and the Falkland Islands, was published yesterday following a two-day summit between the EU’s 27 member states and the Celac – a bloc of 33 Latin American countries.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly then demanded that European Council president Charles Michel ‘clarify’ the bloc’s position – but the request was refused.
An EU insider 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 said that ‘the Argentines have spun it in a certain way’.
The EU’s decision has been hailed by Buenos Aires as a ‘diplomatic triumph’ that strengthens their claim to the islands that have been safely in British hands since 1833 apart from 74 days in 1982. Ten years ago, 99.8 per cent of Falkland Islanders voted in a referendum to say they wanted to stay part of the UK.
Multiple sources from the Argentinian delegation in Brussels claimed it as a victory over Britain. ‘It is the first time in a long time that the European Union talks about ‘Malvinas’.
That is not little, it is a lot’, one insider told The Times.President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina was in Europe for the talks and tweeted afterwards: ‘We concluded the summit with great news – the EU and Celac adopted a motion on the Malvinas question. Our sovereignty claim, by peaceful means and through dialogue, remains intact.’