Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Argentina: EU must intervene quickly and firmly

26th November 2012

The EU must act firmly and promptly to reprimand Argentina after a gang of nationalists in Buenos Aires ransacked an office which organises cruises to the Falkland Islands, a senior British MEP said today.

Charles Tannock, Conservative spokesman on foreign affairs in the European Parliament, said the attack was terrifying and had gone unchecked by the Argentinian authorities.

"It was an affront to all the basic principles of free trade, of human decency and of international responsibility," said the London MEP.

According to reports at the weekend, masked men smashed plate glass windows, scrawled graffiti, hurled paintballs and turned over dustbins during the attack on the offices of Argentine Shipping Services.

They promised to stop cruise ships from berthing at Buenos Aires and other Argentinian ports unless the Falklands leg of cruises were cancelled. No police intervened and there have been no arrests.

Mr Tannock said: "The British Foreign Office quite rightly summoned Argentinian diplomats for a dressing down, but this also requires firm and prompt action from the EU.

"There are three different area of pressure which Brussels can apply and should apply.

"Catherine Ashton's External Action Service needs to bring the full weight of EU diplomacy to bear over this outrageous failure to protect individuals who were engaged in entirely legitimate international business and who were left terrified by this attack.

"Secondly, Argentina must be reminded of its commitment to open and free trade under the terms of its membership of the World trade Organisation. Those commitments were flagrantly and frighteningly breached last week, and not for the first time.

"Finally, it must surely be time to pull the plug on EU aid to Argentina. Buenos Aires is proving more evidence on an almost daily basis that it cannot be trusted to behave as a responsible or deserving member of the international community.

"You cannot go on funding a country whose ruling regime so blatantly despises the rules of being a responsible member of the international community of democratic nations."