Friday 12 September 2008

Lisbon Treaty: Finland ratifies and Åland hesitates

Formal ratification of the EU Lisbon Treaty takes one additional step today in Finland with the signature of President Tarja Halonen. The parliamentary ratification stage was concluded in June, with overwhelming support for the amending treaty.

The Treaty of Lisbon is still at the committee stage in the Åland Islands Parliament, which through the regional government has lobbied hard for increased, more or less parallel powers in Finnish EU affairs.

Here is the text of the Finnish government’s press release:

“Ministry for Foreign Affairs
11.9.2008 14.02
Finland ratifies the treaty of Lisbon
The Government of Finland decided to present on Thursday 11 September to the President of the Republic the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon and the confirmation of the Act on the implementation of the Treaty. The President of the Republic is to decide on the matter on Friday 12 September.
The Parliament of Finland approved the Treaty of Lisbon for its part on 11 June.
Deliberations on the Treaty by the Parliaments of the Member States of the European Union have been completed in other Member States except for Sweden and the Czech Republic. In its referendum in June, Ireland voted against the Treaty. Seventeen Member States have deposited their instruments of ratification with the Government of Italy.
The Act on the implementation of the Treaty is under discussion also before the Åland Parliament ("Lagting") whose consent has been requested in order to bring the provisions of the Treaty into force in Åland. The consent of the Åland Parliament is not a prerequisite for the ratification of the Treaty by Finland.
The Government gave the following statement in connection with this matter: "In the context of the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon discussions have been carried out with the representatives of Åland on the participation of Åland in the preparation of European Union affairs and Åland's possibilities to exert influence on them. On the basis of these discussions a decision in principle is being prepared for its adoption by the Government of Finland. In addition, a working group has been established to prepare an amendment to the Act on the Autonomy of Åland concerning the possibility of Åland to be heard before the European Court of Justice."
Further information: Director Päivi Kaukoranta, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel 160 55715.”



The press release is available in Finnish and Swedish, too.

Ralf Grahn


  1. Maybe I'm an old-fashioned centralist, but I see these special statute entities with great suspicion. Local politicians seem everywhere to have a strange and very convenient
    idea of rights and duties: the special statute entity has the former, while the central state has the latter.
    I cannot understand why an island should be allowed to bypass its national government before the Eu institutions, only because it has a different heritage or language from the rest of the country it belongs.

  2. Igor, Italy,

    If the aim is European integration, specific regimes and special status are problematic, both at union level and nationally.


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