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Tiny island that's ready to stop Europe in its tracks

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Filed: Timeline

By David Rennie in Mariehamn

(Filed: 15/02/2006)

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 the islanders are threatening to do just that when the European Commission attempts to revive the moribund EU constitution later this year.

But last week the archipelago's head of EU affairs, Britt Lundberg, travelled to Brussels - a day-long trek - to deliver a warning that dismally low public opinion on Europe could mean Alanders prevent Finland from ratifying the constitution.

waland15.gif

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.

Parliament in Helsinki is poised to adopt a positive "position" on the treaty, as part of a plan co-ordinated with powers that include Germany and Austria.

So Mrs Lundberg's warning made the Commission take notice.

Brussels is trapped in a "Catch 22" situation of the EU's own making. Snus, a form of chewing tobacco, has been outlawed by EU fiat in every nation except Sweden, which secured a -special opt-out as a condition of its joining the EU, and in every region - except Aland.

The Commission recently took Finland to court to quash Aland's snus law. But Finland has no power to change that law. Finland does not control laws covering health in Aland; Aland does.

Aland is not allowed to defend its law before the justices in Luxembourg because the court recognises only nations. So the court is set to convict and fine Aland, without allowing the island's government to plead its case.

A ban on snus threatens serious financial harm to the capital, Mariehamn.

Mrs Lundberg said: "Every Alander is very, very upset. It's the principle of the thing that we can be judged, made to pay a fine, but have no chance to tell the court in Luxembourg why we made our law, and that we have the sole right to make this law."

The head of the Aland government, Roger Norlund, admitted that he did not even like snus. To him, the row is philosophical. "Aland finds small-scale solutions to its problems. But the EU model is one of large-scale solutions, and harmonisation."

Tomas Grunér, a navigator on the big boats, uses snus "24 hours a day". "It keeps me relaxed," he said. "I thought the EU was a good idea, but now I think it sucks."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml.../ixnewstop.html


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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good for them...piss on the eu


Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Colombia
Timeline
good for them...piss on the eu

ditto


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good for them...piss on the eu

ditto

Wohooo, hope they do it :dance:


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Tiny Island? Global warming will take care of them. ;)

And they better don't come to the mainland crying. :whistle:

nope....no herring for them


Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

Peppi_drinking_beer.jpg

my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.ph...st&id=10835

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Filed: Timeline
Tiny Island? Global warming will take care of them. ;)
You really willing to put off the EU for another half a millenium or more?

You really think the EU is going to come to a halt because of some 26,000 people on some island being addicted to snus?

They can do Finland a favor and keep Finland out of it.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Timeline
Tiny Island? Global warming will take care of them. ;)
You really willing to put off the EU for another half a millenium or more?

You really think the EU is going to come to a halt because of some 26,000 people on some island being addicted to snus?

They can do Finland a favor and keep Finland out of it.

Not sure how much of a favor that would be. Russia grabbed Finland once before... :whistle:

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Hmmm seems a lot of folk without EU connections are very anti the EU....

Wot only one powerful super state allowed on this planet???? :unsure:


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