Tiny island that's ready to stop Europe in its tracks
By David Rennie in Mariehamn
In the decade since they voted to join the European Union the islanders of the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea have been outvoted and overruled by Brussels, time and again.
Now Aland, a unique, autonomous region of Finland, is about to teach Brussels a lesson in democracy it may never forget.
Thanks to a quirk of early 20th-century history, Aland's 26,000 people are essentially sovereign co-rulers of their home nation of Finland. As such, they can veto any international treaty that Finland wants to enter, including EU treaties.
And what are these 26,000 people fighting over? a chewing tobbacco which is a peculiarity to their swedish culture (The Alanders are Swedish speakers and I'd imagine share many traits in common with Sweden) The Swedes were given a special exemption when they joined the EU but the Alanders were forgotten by their partner in Helsinki
The islanders' revolt has been brewing for some time. First, this community of Swedish-speaking Finns lost the right to fish at sea with traditional nets.
Then Alanders saw their beloved spring duck hunting virtually abolished. To the Alanders' final outrage, local laws on consuming "snus" or Swedish chewing tobacco, are about to be quashed by the European Court of Justice.
Finland, which takes over the rotating EU presidency later this year, is committed to reviving the constitution after No votes in France and Holland last year
So Finland's international Prestige is at stake because of a minority they (and the EU) have been taking for granted. This is of course the superior multi-cultural model we here so much about from the Euro-folks
good for them. Lets show the anti-democratic forces of europe whatfor