Baltic island of Åland to vote on the Lisbon Treaty
2009 10 31
Finland's Swedish-speaking autonomous Aaland Islands in the Baltic Sea are due to vote on the Lisbon Treaty later this year, with the outcome seen as uncertain and a No vote likely to land Helsinki in a quagmire.
Politicians in the Finnish capital and Åland's local capital of Mariehamn will be closely following Ireland's second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on Friday, as Åland seeks to use its own vote as a pretext to wrest more power on EU matters from Helsinki.
Although Finland ratified the Lisbon Treaty in September 2008, the Åland Islands, located between mainland Finland and Sweden and home to 27,000 people, have to approve it by a two-thirds majority in their 30-member parliament to endorse it.
A number of MPs have threatened to vote against the treaty unless their demands are met by Helsinki.
Nobody in Finland seems to know what would happen if the Lisbon Treaty was ratified by all 27 EU member states, but not by Åland.
"That would create a complicated situation. We would have to solve it somehow," Sten Palmgren, a senior legal advisor with the Finnish justice ministry, told AFP.
"It would create a legally problematic, even absurd, situation, because the Finnish state is responsible for all EU laws being followed in the country," said Tuomas Ojanen, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Helsinki.
Any decision by Helsinki to ignore an Åland No would most certainly be perceived as undemocratic at home.
In Brussels, the matter does not appear to be causing too much worry.
"It's an internal problem for Finland" to sort out, one EU diplomat said.
"What matters as far as the EU is concerned is whether a member state has ratified or not at the end of the national process. So if there is a problem, it's up to the Finnish government to solve it," he added.
No date has been set for the Åland vote yet, though it is expected to take place in November or December.
Åland, an entirely Swedish-speaking territory, was Swedish until 1809 when it fell into Russian hands. In 1921, it was "given" to Finland by the League of Nations, which also guaranteed its autonomous status.
Now one of Finland's wealthiest regions, Aaland's economy is driven by the shipping and financial services sectors, but its relations have often been conflictual with Helsinki.
The situation has worsened since Finland joined the EU in 1995, when a series of exemptions for Aaland were negotiated in Finland's membership deal, and there are occasional calls for Aaland to withdraw from the EU or even separate from the rest of Finland.
The most common disputes with Brussels concern fishing and hunting quotas.
But Aaland is most bitter over Finland's decision not to support the islands when they wanted an exemption from an EU ban on "snus", a traditional Swedish moist tobacco for which Sweden negotiated an exemption but which the Commission took Finland to court over.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen asked Aaland to ratify the Lisbon Treaty in April 2008, and Aaland's politicians are now using the vote to press Helsinki to bolster Aaland's influence on EU matters.
The primary issue has been a seat for Aaland in the European Parliament, a demand the Finnish government has outright rejected outright.
However, Helsinki has agreed to allow Åland's representatives to attend European court hearings when the islands are concerned.
The islands also want to be heard in decision-making at the council of ministers.
Meanwhile, Professor Ojanen explained that if Åland did not ratify the treaty, some EU laws that fall under Aaland's autonomy would not come into force on the islands and the Commission could take Finland to court.
Economic, environmental and cultural issues are for example matters that fall under the Aaland parliament's authority.
"Legal uncertainty could cause trouble to entrepreneurs and ordinary people for example in social security or company taxation issues," Ojanen said.
But professor Teuvo Pohjolainen from the University of Joensuu disagreed.
"I don't think it would have a big impact" on people or companies, he said.
Polls in Ireland suggest voters there will approve the treaty in Friday's referendum.
An Irish Yes vote would put Finland to the test later this year, while a No vote would give Helsinki more breathing room to resolve its negotiations with Åland.
Åland Islands Could Thwart the EU Lisbon Treaty
Red Ice Radio
Marta Andreasen MEP - Brussels laid Bare, Financial Fraud within the European Union
Nigel Farage MEP - The State of the EU & The Undemocratic Treaty of Lisbon
David Icke - The Lisbon Treaty & The Corrupt European Union
Simon Murphy & Paul Flynn - Truth Coalition Ireland, Calling All Irish: NO to the Lisbon Treaty
Anthony & Derek from Wise up Journal - NO to the Second Lisbon Treaty Vote
Islands give Finns treaty problem
Latest News from our Front Page
VOTER FRAUD: Was the Scottish Independence Referendum Rigged to Fail?
2014 09 20
Was voter fraud committed during the Scottish Independence referendum?
It has been confirmed that the names of 10 people were already crossed off a voter list prior them voting inside a polling station.
According to reports, the Glasgow City Council confirmed that there were ten cases of suspected electoral fraud occurring at polling stations following the Scottish referendum vote on the 18th. ...
Scandinavians Split Over Syrian Influx
2014 09 20
This exemplifies the insanity of Scandinavia.
The narrow victory of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party in Sweden’s elections last Sunday marked a broad shift in its politics. But a new coalition government is unlikely to reconsider one of the country’s most challenging policies: its response to the Syrian civil war. Sweden has taken an open-door approach to people fleeing the conflict, ...
The Israel lobby in United Kingdom - Who Runs Britain?
2014 09 20
Who runs British politics? Who in Britain supports all the wars the UK has been involved in?
The Israel Lobby in the UK - Full Documentary By Peter Oborne from Dispatchees
Links from Youtube:
Zionist attack on western civilization
Reed Douglas - The Controversery of Zion
The cowardice at the heart of UK relationship with Israel
Close friends and allies: Prime Minister David Cameron ...
Another Palestinian Mass Grave Discovered, Evidence of Massacre
2014 09 20
Another mass grave discovered, evidence of 1948 Judaic holocaust by bullets, knives and bludgeons against Palestinians.
The Israeli military admits to have been surprised by the abilities of Palestinian resistance fighters during its recent war on the Gaza Strip.
A top Israeli military official says he’s impressed by the training of Palestinian resistance fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups. He ...
Russian Media to be owned by Russians
2014 09 20
Comment: Russian media by and for Russians? Wow, revolutionary!
I guess they are stick of foreign oligarchs and zionist with dual citizenship.
Duma seeks limits on foreign ownership of Russian media companies
A group of opposition lawmakers have prepared a bill that orders Russian mass media companies to have at least 80 percent of their stock held by Russian investors.
The bill is backed ...
|More News » |