Åland representative in Nordic Council removed for verbal attacks on Finland
Anders Eriksson, the chairman of the separatist Ålands Framtid (Åland’s Future) party, is to be removed from the delegation that the semi-autonomous province has in the Nordic Council.
Åland, a group of islands situated between Sweden and mainland Finland, are a part of Finland, but enjoy wide-ranging autonomous powers.
At a session of the Nordic Council in Stockholm earlier this week, Eriksson expressed strong denunciations of Finland.Viveka Eriksson, the speaker of the Landsting, or Åland Parliament, and Roger Norlund, the head of the provincial government, took issue with his statements.
Now Åland’s main parties, the Centre and the Liberals, want to drop Eriksson from the post of deputy representative of the Landsting at the Nordic Council. It has been proposed that Anders Eriksson should be replaced by Raija-Liisa Eklöw, whose mother tongue is Finnish - a minority language in the predominantly Swedish-speaking province.
The independence-minded Ålands Framtid has two seats on the 30-member Landsting.
"Hence talk about independence gives the wrong impression of Åland politics. We want to develop our autonomy within Finland", says Runar Karlsson, chairman of the Centrist group.
"In the Nordic Council a representative of the province must represent our official political line, and not push party politics", Carlsson points out.
As examples of Finnish oppression in Åland, Anders Eriksson mentions a case of a crane operator from Åland who trained in Sweden and whose certificate was not accepted in Finland, even though there is no equivalent Swedish-language training available in Finland.
Another example is a decision by the Finnish Supreme Court according to which a lawyer who has completed his education in Sweden is not allowed to practice law in Finland without a supplementary degree.
"We agree on the substance of the issues, but we want to resolve the differences through dialogue with Finnish officials", Karlsson says.