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Finnish islands cause headache for EU treaty approval - EUobserver

The Finnish autonomous Aland Islands are causing headaches for the Finnish government by demanding certain concessions from Helsinki in return for ratifying the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

The local government in the capital Mariehamn has said it will ratify the bloc's latest institutional rule book only if it gets the nod for four demands, with the vote in the Aland 30-member strong parliament expected in the autumn.

The 27,000 Alanders have had their own flag since 1954

The minister responsible for the islands, former MEP Astrid Thors, visited Aland on Monday (11 August) but only offered some good news on one of the demands - Aland will get some sort of speaking rights within the EU.

She did not offer any concessions on Aland's request for a seat in the European Parliament or participation in the council of ministers' work (where EU member states are represented) on a role in controlling "subsidiarity," the EU principle that power should, where possible, be used a local levels.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:20:04 PM EST
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This has been going for a couple of years now. What exactly were to happen if Åland rejected the treaty (the Finnish parliament has already voted to ratify it) seems to be unclear. The former president of the Finnish supreme court, Leif Sévon, even suggested Åland could end up completely outside of EU if it rejected the treaty (Ålandstidningen ). That was perceived as bit of a threat in some Åland quarters; former Åland member of the Finnish parliament and prime minister of the Åland government Roger Jansson even going so far as suggesting that the perception that the autonomy is being trampled upon would lead to significantly increased support for the separatist party Future of Åland, which received about 8% of the votes in the last election.

Ultimately it's not likely that the Lagting (the Åland parliament) will reject the treaty, but of course the Åland government will attempt to get every concession they can out of the negotiations. It was never a realistic proposition that Åland would get a seat in the EU parliament, unless it would be in addition to the seats Finland already has.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
World is becoming more and more interesting every day...
Kosovo anyone?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:35:13 PM EST
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