Falklands plot: Argentina to exploit Brexit to seize back control of disputes islands

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The UK could be forced to negotiate with Argentina due to confusion over fishing after Brexit, Mario Volpe said. The former Argentine soldier and deputy director of the Malvina’s Institute of the University of La Plata said the UK could face a fishing crisis if a deal with the EU is not struck.

He warned the Brexit process could leave what he described as “illegal fishing” out of the reach of the European market.

Mr Volpe said this could force the UK towards “dialogue with Argentina about the sovereignty of the islands”.

Argentina lays a claim to the British Overseas Territory, which it calls Islas Malvinas.

Fishing accounted for 43 percent of the Falklands GDP from 2007-16 and nearly all its exports in 2018 went to the EU with the majority of fish being squid.

Falklanders have no say in the Brexit battle raging 8,000 miles away in London, as the Islands are not part of the EU.

But as an overseas territory, they benefit from the customs union allowing export to EU countries including Spain.

Mr Volpe claimed the British “grant illegal licenses to fish for squid and other species that transform the inhabitants of the Malvinas into the second richest population of the world in income per capita”.

Falklands MLA Teslyn Barkman recently held discussions with UK government officials on the subject of Falklands fisheries.

She warned no progress had been made in talks raising concerns about what could happen in less than 100 days time at the end of the transition period.

Ms Barkman added: “It is public knowledge that the UK/EU trade deal isn’t substantially progressing so we continue to identify how best to approach and motivate action on our issues with the help of the UK Government and the Falklands fishing industry.

“Yes, we continue to provide input.

“We are also assured, no decisions will be taken on the Falkland Islands trade without our input.”

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“It’s important to note the other challenges we face that show the continued need for sensitivity in the negotiation too.

“Recently we learned the Government of Argentina has written to EU member states to lobby against our interests although feedback we’ve had assures this is being ignored.

“We know the UK has raised our interests with the EU Commission negotiating team and we (FIG) have also written to the EU Commission several months ago with no substantial change to report.”

Fishing in the Falkland Islands dates back to 1986 after the UK allowed the British Overseas Territory to award and trade fishing licenses.

However, this move was not recognised by Argentina as they claim waters around the disputed South Georgia, South Sandwich and the Falkland Islands.

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