The Canadian government said on Wednesday that the results of the Falkland Islands referendum are “very clear” and “only” the people of the Islands are entitled to decide on their future. However the European Commission refused to get involved in the discussion arguing it is an “internal affair” of an EU member.
“With reference to Monday’s ballot, our position is that only the people of the Falklands can determine their future. The results were very clear”, said Canadian Foreign Affairs minister John Baird in his twitter.
An overwhelming 99.8% of Falkland Islanders with a turnout of 92% voted YES to continue as a British Overseas Territory and only three votes supported the NO in the March 10/11 referendum.
Argentina has repeatedly stated the referendum is ‘illegal’ and does not recognize the existence of Falkland Islanders as a people but rather as an implanted population in a colonial territory.
But for the European Commission the referendum’s decision to remain as a British Overseas Territory was described as an ‘internal affair’ of an EU member and refused to take a stand on the issue.
EC spokesperson Olivier Bailly during the daily news conference recalled that it is not the job of the European Executive to express opinion on issues refereed to the internal organization of an EU state member.
Bailly said he was well aware of the statements from the British government led by PM David Cameron, who pledged not to hold Falklands’ sovereignty negotiations with Argentina as long as that was the Islanders decision. But he insisted that since it was “an internal issue” of the UK, he would make no further comments on the matter.
Canada has displayed a strong position in support of the Falkland Islands right to self determination. During the Americas summit held in Colombia last year, PM Stephen Harper blocked Argentine demands for a Malvinas claim clause to be included in the final declaration.
Baird also revealed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in August 2012 that it had strongly rejected pressures from the Argentine government on Canadian companies such as Barrick Gold, the world’s leading gold miner and with interests in Argentina, to make Ottawa change its position regarding the Falklands.