Åland doesn’t want a clean break, they’re main concern is protection of their Swedish language status and autonomous rule, both of which are not even close to being under assault, in fact they’re pampered beyond belief.
Åland’s separatists take heart
Events in Catalonia have been high on the news agenda this week, and attention has inevitably widened to potential independence struggles in other restive regions across Europe and the world.
While Scotland, Occitania and the Basque Country might be sexier regions for gallivanting journalists, Finland has its very own secessionist movement with a respectable 10 percent of the vote in Åland’s parliament. Uusi Suomi went to meet Axel Jonsson, the leader of the pro-independence ‘Åland’s Future’ party to ask how he saw the archipelago’s relationship with Finland.
Democratically, it turns out. He doesn’t see a need for a referendum until a majority in the Åland parliament support a vote, and at present his party has only three seats out of thirty. Jonsson reckons some 25-30 percent of the current representatives would support independence, however–it’s just not the main issue for them and so they’re in other parties.
The main reason for independence, according to Jonsson, is language. He says Finland promised in 1921, when Åland’s status was settled, that independent Finland would ‘speak Swedish to Åland’–and to him, the mainland now seems like a monolingual country.
“The current relationship between Swed….Åland and Finland would be much better if we we good neighbours rather than a quarrelling married couple, which we are now” said Jonsson. “We have a lot of squabbles over language and money.”