Falkland Islands name debate breaks out as Argentines skew Express poll
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The European Union referred to the Falkland Islands as “Islas Malvinas” in official documentation and the bloc’s endorsement of the archipelago’s former name has sparked furious debate, a new Express.co.uk poll has shown.
A joint declaration published last Tuesday, between the EU and 32 members of the Celac bloc of Latin American countries, used both names of the contested territory.
The document read: “Regarding the question of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands, the European Union took note of Celac’s historical position based on the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in the peaceful solution of disputes.”
The Argentinian government said the use of the Argentine name was a “diplomatic triumph” and viewed it as support for their right to the territory.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said that it was a “regrettable choice of words”. They added that the “EU has rightly now clarified that their position on the Falklands has not changed”.
READ MORE: Falklands row reignited as Argentina’s UK ambassador ‘welcomes’ Malvinas name
In response, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 10am on Thursday, July 20, to 4.15pm on Wednesday, July 26, asking readers: “Is the EU out of order using Falklands’ Argentine name?”
Overall, 22,354 votes were received with the vast majority, 70 percent (15,695 people), answering “no” the EU were not out of order. Whereas 29 percent (6,592 people) said “yes” they were and 67 people said they did not know.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated the Falkland Islands being referred to as “Las Malvinas”.
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It is absolutely appalling that the EU is saying ‘Las Malvinas’ – MARK FRANCOIS[COMMENT]
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The poll was soon circulated on social media among Argentinians with Argentine economic newspaper ambito.com running a story on the Express.co.uk poll, on Tuesday, July 24, referring to the result at the time – 72 percent agreeing with the EU’s use – and letting readers know that they could still vote.
Their votes may have skewed the poll, with many arguing that the UK should stay out of the agreement between the EU and Celac bloc, with username 7985 writing: “UK sticking its ever more feeble nose into others’ affairs.”
Similarly, username cassiodorus said: “I do hope those who voted Yes are not suggesting the UK interferes with what anyone else does.”
Username Southeast8 agreed, writing: “What the EU says and does is no concern for the English.”
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In defence, several readers criticised the EU’s use of the Argentine name, with username justmy2cents writing: “Yes! They so absolutely are [out of order for using it].”
Another, username Colin Paterson said: “Absolutely out of order, even the Falklands battle was conclusive to ownership!”
And username BritishSovereign remarked: “It should be made a criminal offence to use that name for the Falkland Islands.”
Tory MP James Sunderland, who served in the Falklands War, said: “This is outrageous. The UK has exercised de facto sovereignty over the Falkland Islands since 1833 and went to their defence in 1982. The good people of the Falklands have also overwhelmingly voted to remain British. The EU would be wise to respect British sovereignty, rather than waste its time with tokenism.”
Yet some readers supported the use of both names in the document. Username onthebrink said: “The EU did the diplomatic thing and used both the English and Spanish names.”
Likewise, username Maria5 wrote: “I wouldn’t worry because many places have different names according to the language.”
While username JSM pointed out: “By calling them Malvina/Falklands they aren’t taking sides.”
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