Fitzroy, East Falklands 08062022 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
More than 250 British service personnel died defending the Falkland Islands more than four decades ago following the Argentinian invasion on 2 April 1982.

EU clarifies 'regrettable choice of words' calling Falklands by Argentine name

	Fitzroy, East Falklands 08062022 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
More than 250 British service personnel died defending the Falkland Islands more than four decades ago following the Argentinian invasion on 2 April 1982.

Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has criticised the EU for a "regrettable choice of words" over the Falkland Islands, Downing Street has said.

Forty-one years after the Falklands War, the UK had appeared to be battling with the European Union to reverse a decision to refer to the Falkland Islands as 'Islas Malvinas'.

Brussels signed a declaration with Argentina and other Latin American countries on Tuesday, referring to the disputed territory by its Argentine name leading Santiago Cafiero, Argentina's Minister of Foreign Affairs, to praise the move a "Triunfo de la diplomacia Argentina", which translates to a 'triumph of diplomacy', on social media.

Mr Sunak's official spokesman told reporters: "The Prime Minister's view is that it would have been entirely unacceptable for the EU to question the Falkland Islanders' right to decide their own future.

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

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

"And just as a reminder, in the 2013 referendum, 99.8% of islanders voted to be part of the UK family. It's a position supported by international law and the UN Charter which is binding on all UN members.

"And we will continue to defend the Falklands' right to self-determination in all international forums and have called on the EU to respect the democratic rights of the Falkland Islands."

He added: "The concern is any suggestion that EU states would recognise Argentina's claims on the Falklands, which they have now clarified is incorrect."

A Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said: "We welcome that the EU have now rightly clarified that their position on the Falklands has not changed.

"The Falkland Islands are British, which was the choice of the islanders themselves.

"An overwhelming majority of islanders voted to remain part of the UK family in 2013, a position which is supported by international law and the UN Charter, which is binding on all UN members."


In a statement, Deputy Chair of the Legislative Assembly for the Falkland Islands, MLA Teslyn Barkman, said the "news from Brussels changes nothing".

"The EU themselves have issued a statement to say that they have not changed their views and positions concerning the Falklands," she said.

"However we are hugely disappointed that it has been decided, without input from the Falkland Islands or the UK government, to refer to our islands by a name that has been given to us by our aggressive and hostile neighbour, Argentina.

"The UK Government have swiftly responded to this news, supporting our rights to self-determination and we encourage EU members to respect the wishes of the Falkland Islanders and refer to us by our proper name – The Falkland Islands – as they have done historically."

The statement continued: "We remain clear that discussions on our sovereignty are non-negotiable.

"Falkland Islanders are clear in their desire to remain as a British Overseas Territory and our commitment to being part of the UK family, living in freedom under the government of our choice.

"We urge EU member states and others to respect our wishes and our right to self-determination, which is a fundamental right enshrined in article one of the Charter of the United Nations."

Watch: Veteran's moving return to Falklands Battlefields 40 years on.

In March, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly insisted that the "Falklands are British" after Argentina's decision to tear up a co-operation agreement and push for fresh talks on the sovereignty of the Falklands.

The Argentinian foreign minister informed Mr Cleverly about the decision when the pair met on the margins of a G20 summit in India that same month.

At the time, minister for the Americas David Rutley said he was disappointed that Buenos Aires had "chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort" to the families of those killed in the 1982 war.

The EU document was published following a two-day summit between the 27 EU member states and the bloc of 33 Latin American countries, known as Celac.

Peter Stano, a spokesperson for the European External Action Service, the EU's diplomatic service, said: "The EU member states have not changed their views/positions concerning the Falklands/Malvinas Islands.

"The EU is not in a situation to express any position on the Falklands/Malvinas, as there has not been any council [of member states] discussion or decision on this matter.”

He added: "The EU does not take any position on such issues without a council mandate."

Join Our Newsletter


LIVE boxing | Inter Company event | 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment

No reversal of Army cuts in defence ‘refresh’ | Sitrep podcast

Army Expo unveils future of British Army in open-air theatre experience