Spain will not be supporting Argentina’s Falkland Islands sovereignty claim during the coming European Union and Latinamerican summit to be held next May 18 in Madrid, according to Falklands Legislative Assembly Member Roger Edwards recently back from Brussels.
MLA Roger Edwards attended the Forum for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the European Union in Brussels, from 23-26 March where he acted in representation of the Falklands.
During the forum the Spanish Government issued a press release stating that at the coming Latam/EU leaders’ summit, the Spanish Government would not be supporting Argentina’s sovereignty claim over the Islands, should Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ask for it.
“The sovereignty of the Falkland Islands”, the press release claimed, “was a matter for the British and Argentine Governments to decide without interference from other countries”.
However MLA Edwards also admitted that support from other countries (OCTs) attending the forum for the Falklands’ ongoing problems with Argentina “has not been realized”.
“The other countries were not content with the proposal that we put forward and so we wrote another one asking for a statement of support for the Falkland Islands,” he said. “Out of the 21 territories, I think we got seven votes in support.
“It’s very difficult for some of them. Those that sit off the coast of Venezuela, for instance, because they have their own problems and difficulties and obviously don’t want to rock the boat”.
The week long forum brought together representatives from 27 European countries and 21 overseas territories.
With MLA Edwards were FIG’s Senior Economic and Statistical Analyst Michael Poole and London Office representative Sukey Cameron.
Reference other issues addressed at the forum MLA Edwards said he was confident that by 2013 legislation favouring the Falklands’ fishing industry would be implemented.
“Once enacted Falklands’ fishing vessels would be able to land all their catch in Europe without being subject either to quotas, or to the necessity to have a certain percentage of the crew of European nationality”, said MLA Edwards.
Currently this latter requirement is waived by means of an annual derogation. Development funding from the European Union over the years was another issue.
Now just finishing the ninth tranche of financial support, a tenth tranche of 4.1 million Euros has recently been awarded to be used in budget support for funding various developments within the Falklands.
MLA Edwards praised the efforts of Michael Poole in coming to grips with the detailed requirements of this award.