Friday, 14 March 2008

Åland in the European Union

A potential problem on the path towards ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Åland Islands (population 27,000) have made their appearance in international discussion surrounding the treaty.

An example of regions with legislative powers and as one of the territories mentioned specially in the context of the territorial scope of the EU treaties (Protocol No 2 on the Åland islands, in the 1994 Accession Treaty), the autonomous Åland province is of interest to students of law and political sciences, as well as regional authorities and active citizens.

Europe Information, of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, has published a 42 page brochure in English, which offers comprehensive information on the position of the province, with interesting aspects of both international law and inner autonomy:

Sören Silverström: Åland in the European Union (Helsinki, 2005)

The booklet can be downloaded here:{8AF46DE8-EB14-4084-9A79-344A770F84D6}

Along with 72 other regions within the European Union, Åland has a local directly elected parliament (lagtinget) and its own government (landskapsregeringen).

These RegLeg regions cooperate through their annual conferences of presidents of regions with legislative power. The latest conference was held in Barcelona, Catalonia, 15 – 16 November 2007, and the Barcelona Declaration offer the regions’ fairly positive view of the Lisbon Treaty then getting its final touches:

Ralf Grahn