EFA visits the Åland Islands to celebrate 100 years of autonomy

A large delegation from the EFA Bureau was in the islands in the Baltic Sea with our member party Ålands Framtid to learn more about their self-government and the Ålander’s push to be directly represented in the EU institutions

In 2021 and 2022, the Åland Islands celebrate the 100th anniversary of their autonomy. On this special occasion, last week a large delegation of EFA Bureau visited the capital, Mariehamn, and our member party, Ålands Framtid. This mission was a fruitful opportunity to learn about Åland’s autonomy and self-government, to reflect on the role of the EU in Åland, and to bring European politics closer to the people in the islands. By meeting with the territory’s frontline politicians, including the Prime Minister, Ms Veronica Thörnroos, and the President of the Åland Parliament, Mr Bert Häggblom, EFA strengthened its cooperation with this Swedish-speaking territory that seeks further autonomy.

EFA Secretary-General and MEP Mr Jordi Solé, EFA Vice-President and observer MEP Ms Jill Evans, and EFA Vice-President and President of Ålands Framtid Peggy Eriksson, took part in the seminar “How to secure the voice of minorities within Europe” in Ålandica Kultur and Kongress. They explained that the European Free Alliance is the only European party that defends the right to self-determination, and that bringing power closer to the people makes communities more agile and participative, enhancing democracy. The seminar also counted on the participation of researcher and author in the subject of European minorities, Mr Göran Lindholm, associate professor at the University of Greenland, Ms Maria Ackrén, and the Vice-President of the Parliament of the Åland Islands, Mr. Roger Nordlund, who explained that the territory struggles to be fairly represented in the European Union. They seek to have an MEP representing Åland, as was once promised by the Finnish state but never fulfilled. The full event is available in the following link: https://youtu.be/h4yrhm9iFK4.

Finally, the EFA delegation also met with the Nordic Council and with important economic actors in the islands, such as the CEO of OX2, Mr Anders Wirklund, and the CEO of Viking Line, Mr Jan Hanses. They explained the future role of the Åland Islands as a producer of sustainable energy, and also warned about the challenges the territory faces today. After this visit, EFA’s commitment representing Åland’s aims in Europe is stronger than ever, as is our cooperation with our member party, Ålands Framtid.