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EU Relations with Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are a British OCT situated in the South Atlantic. Its capital is Stanley. The Falkland Islands have a population of around 3105 (November 2007 est). Fishing is central to the islands’ economy, but also agriculture and tourism. Per capita GNP is about € 40,000 in 2007.

Economy

The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing contributes the bulk of economic activity. In 1987 the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falkland Islands' exclusive fishing zone. These license fees total more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squid accounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Exports feature shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date, no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentina and the UK in 1995 seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2007. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.

Political background

The UK remains responsible for foreign affairs, defence, internal security, the public service and the offshore financial sector. In other areas, executive power is exercised at island level. The constitution of the Falkland Islands was established October 3, 1985 and amended in 1997, and the islanders were granted full British citizenship from 1 January 1983 under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands). The chief of state is Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) and the head of government is Governor Alan HUCKLE (since 25 August 2006). Chief Executive is Chris SIMPKINS (since March 2003). The cabinet or the Executive Council holds three members elected by the Legislative Council, two ex officio members (chief executive and the financial secretary), and the governor who is appointed by the monarch. The Legislative Council complies of 10 seats; 2 members are ex officio and 8 are elected by popular vote; to serve four-year terms; presided over by the governor. The last general election was held in November 2005. The next general election is due by November 2009.

Falklands Islands have agreed with Britain on a new constitution to take effect by January 1, 2009, replacing a charter adopted in 1985. The new document, approved by Queen Elisabeth II, formalizes the system of self-government on the South Atlantic Archipelago while giving Britain the final say on foreign policy, policing and the administration of justice, according to a joint statement. The statement also said that the new constitution clarifies the relationship between the Executive Council and the islands' governor, who is appointed by the British government in London. It makes clear council members are responsible for most domestic policies, but the governor retains veto power that can be exercised "in the interests of good governance." Britain still retains responsibility for "external affairs, defense, internal security and the administration of justice."

External and regional environment

The isolation of the Falkland Islands and the fact that they are not located in an ACP region complicate regional integration and cooperation. Moreover, the tense relations between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands also limit the possibilities of further regional integration and cooperation.

Relations with the EU

Under the 9th EDF, € 4,547 million (i.e. the 9th EDF territorial allocation of € 3 million + transfers from decommitted funds for an amount of € 0.047 million) and € 1.500 million from the MTR) is allocated to the Falkland Islands by means of a single programming document (SPD). The SPD identifies capacity building in the area of trade development with a view to encourage trade growth and increased value added in the Falklands Islands main production sectors of fisheries, agriculture and tourism as focal sectors.

Under the 10th EDF Falklands islands will receive 4.6 million euros.

Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top