Gastvortrag „Lessons from the Åland Islands – Autonomy at its best?“

Gastvortrag „Lessons from the Åland Islands – Autonomy at its best?“

aland island

Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Direktorin des Åland Islands Peace Institute

Lessons from the Åland Islands – Autonomy at its best?

On Friday, 6.5.2022, Prof. Siliopoulou Åkermark, the President of the Åland Islands Peace Institute, gave an extended and detailed lecture on the territorial autonomy of the Åland Islands. She explained the autonomy of the archipelago of 6.500 islands in the sea between Finland (to which it belongs) and Sweden (with which it shares the language). The autonomy of the Åland Islands has become a role model for territorial autonomies around the world for its resilience. According to Siliopoulou Åkermark, it all can be broken down to the question whether autonomy is seen as an anomaly within a national state or as an entity sui generis from which a lot can be gained and learned, herself propending, of course, to the latter. Very much like in South Tyrol, autonomy in the Åland Islands is a never-ending topic with everlasting tensions in the political negotiations, as could be observed during the pandemic, where the autonomous competences were interfered with via emergency legislation. Only through the protection legal autonomy grants, the linguistic and cultural minority living there can be given the chance to be heard within the nation of Finland. As a historically demilitarised zone this is crucial just now, as Finland is considering joining NATO.

(©Martin Kripp)






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