Ålandsexemplet i Europaparlamentet

Publicerat: 7 april, 2022 i Personligt

Igår fick jag frågan av Harry Jansson om jag kunde hoppa in istället för honom under ett seminarium som Europaparlamentets Minoritetsintergrupp anordnade idag. Rubriken för seminariet var ”Ålandsexemplet som inspiration i minoriteters sammanhang”. Seminariet anordnades av Minoritetsintergruppen som samlar Europaparlamentariker som intresserar sig för minoritetsfrågor.

Vid seminariet, som anordnades digitalt, höll även Ålands fredsinstituts direktör Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark en presentation på temat ”Ålandsexemplet i dagens värld”. Sia är en klippa när det kommer till detta område. Hennes anförande/inlägg kommer säkert publiceras på www.peace.ax inom kort

Jag sade ungefär det här:

Honourable members of the European Parliament, ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately the Deputy chief minister Mr. Jansson had to attend an important meeting today with the Finnish government regarding refugees from Ukraine.

However, I thank you very much for inviting me here today on behalf of the Åland government. It is always a pleasure to address members of this house in general and members with an interest in minority rights in particular. I am of course delighted to see that you have decided to take a closer look at the Åland example. Especially in times like this and in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is extra relevant to look at examples of peaceful conflict resolution.

Honourable members, it is actually quite astonishing that we can say that we Ålanders celebrate 100 years of autonomy this year. Because 100 years ago, the sentiment on the Åland islands was quite a different one. The Ålanders were denied their will to reunite with the motherland, Sweden, and this was of course a great sorrow.

But very quickly, the Ålanders decided to look ahead and to really make the best of the situation at hand. And for the last 100 years, the entire society has worked together to develop the autonomy and to create a well-functioning society. It is clear that the autonomy has served us well, but it is equally clear that it is something that constantly requires hard work and diplomacy.

In this context, let me underline two things:

first of all, the autonomy is not a static solution. We have a firm legal basis in the autonomy act but the world around us is changing and hence the autonomy also needs to develop. The EU membership is a good example of that. When EU legislation requires one national authority or one plan per member state, it automatically leads to a problem in a Member State with autonomous regions. Let me therefore underline the need for lawmakers, such as yourselves, to keep this in mind whenever you see that a legislative proposal requires only one national plan or solution. Adding the letter “s” after for example a national plan can mean a world of difference for autonomies and minorities around the EU.

In the context of our EU membership, it is also worth mentioning that Finland is yet to grant Åland the seat in the European Parliament that we have a constitutional right to. In the meantime, we are of course happy and proud to have Members like Nils Torvalds in the house to also make sure that Åland’s voice is heard in the parliament, but it remains a fact that Finland’s refusal to give us an own seat is a real democratic problem.

Second of all, I want to clearly draw your attention to the need of a solid legal basis in order to ensure the protection of minority rights. In the case of Åland, the autonomy act is crucial. It is a law of constitutional character in Finland and it sets out the framework of the autonomy.

There are two things that are crucial when it comes to the autonomy act:

one is that it is actually fully complied with, and the other is that it is developed throughout time.

Overall, the framework for Åland is working fairly well but there are cases when the autonomy act is not complied with and we can’t deny that we see great challenges when it comes to developing the legal framework right now. This is undoubtedly great challenges to the whole principle of the Åland autonomy and there’s a great responsibility for politicians, both in Finland and on Åland, to take these challenges seriously and to be constructive and show a serious will to develop and to safeguard the autonomy.

Honourable members, let me conclude by saying that the Åland solution has many merits when it comes to protecting our minority and linguistic rights, but it is a constant work in progress. I am very much looking forward to hearing the following presentation and your reflections but for now, let me just thank you for your interest and I want to let you know that you are all very welcome to visit Åland islands if you want to look into our autonomy in more detail. It would really be my pleasure to personally welcome you on Åland. Once again, thank you very much.

  1. Erik skriver:

    Tummen upp Fredrik!
    Allt gott! Mvh Erik


  2. GH skriver:

    Det var (ju) Ett bra inlägg!



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