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Aland

Yearbook 2009

Aland. Åland politicians criticized Finnish authorities for failing to comply with the Constitution's requirement that the cultural and social needs of the Swedish-speaking population be met on equal grounds with the Finnish-speaking population. Following pressures from Åland, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen explained that Finland's language law does not work in practice, because Swedish-speaking people do not receive the Swedish-speaking community service to which they are entitled under the law. The language skills are lacking in the authorities. Vanhanen wrote in a letter to the ministries that each authority must ensure compliance with the legislation. He emphasized that all authorities in Finland must use Swedish in communication with Åland, which is unanimously Swedish.

Flagging of Åland ferries to Sweden led to reduced tax revenue in Åland. The background was last year's ban on the sale of snuff on Åland ferries, a ban originating in the EU. According to the EU, only Sweden and thus Swedish ferries were exempted from the sales ban. The Åland Landscape Board proposed that the EU Commission amend the rules so that snus sales on Swedish water are allowed for all shipping companies and ferries regardless of flag. The Finance Minister of Åland, Mats Perämaa, supported the idea of the Finnish Foreign Trade Minister, but the Swedish government was hesitant and referred to legal complications.

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