The Falkland Islands urged the EU Commission to ensure that the rights of citizens of Overseas Counties and Territories are not compromised in relations with countries and regional bodies.
The presentation was made by Falklands’ Member of the Legislative Assembly Roger Edwards who emphasized the significance of the request “especially at this time of heightened pressure from Argentina on the Islands trade and economic position”.
MLA Edwards, MLA Sharon Halford, Sukey Cameron, Falklands Government representative in London and Jamie Fotheringham, FIG head of policy attended in Brussels the tenth edition of the European Union/Overseas Countries and Territories Forum held this week in Brussels.
The Argentine Government that claims sovereignty of the Falklands has adopted a policy of isolating the Islands from South America, partly with support from regional bodies such as Unasur and Mercosur which decided last December to bar Falklands’ flagged vessels from regional ports.
Likewise Argentina has threatened to put an end of the only air link with the continent, via Punta Arenas in Chile.
The Falkland Islands took the lead in presenting a joint position on trade issues and regional integration facing all OCT, to the European Commission. In preparing the presentation the Falkland Islands delegation worked closely with the delegations from Anguilla, Curacao, Greenland and St. Pierre Miquelon.
The Falklands’ message was also underlined in the speech by the representative of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office during which he specifically affirmed the UK’s support of the right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination.
A trilateral meeting was held with HM Government and the EU Commission on the final day of the Forum, when the delegation were able to discuss specific issues relating to funding from the EU for development projects in the Falklands.
Some 100 delegates from 22 OCT members attended the forum in Brussels which began January 23 and is scheduled to end on Thursday.
The Government of Montserrat chaired the Forum; the Chair now passes to Greenland who will host the next Forum in September in Greenland.