Keep the Åland Islands demilitarised, following the people’s will

Despite Finnish fears about the archipelago’s security, all Ålandic parties agree that the islands should maintain their demilitarised status

The Åland Islands should stay a demilitarised territory, following the Ålandic people’s will. Demilitarisation is a fundamental question for the islands. After Russia invaded Ukraine and following more than one year of war, Finnish politicians have started to raise security concerns about the islands in the Baltic Sea. They are questioning Åland’s status. Nevertheless, the concerns of the locals are very different from those on the Finnish mainland. All the political parties in Åland agree that the islands’ status should stay as it is: free from the military. The Åland Islands have been an autonomous territory since the Autonomy Act of 1920. Therefore, decisions on their status should come from their autonomous government, not from the central Finnish powers.

The Ålands became demilitarised as a result of the peace negotiations in Paris in 1856 after the Crimean War. The agreement is considered international law. When the sovereignty issue was solved by the League of Nations in 1921, the demilitarisation of 1856 was confirmed. And it has been re-confirmed many times: for example, when the Åland Islands joined the EU. This is why EFA, together with our member party Ålands Framtid, feels that international agreements should be respected by everyone and hopes that this good example can give people hope for a better future.