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Back to Paper Details
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Unitary States following Federal Principles: Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland Islands Compared

Conflict
Ethnic Conflict
Federalism
Jan Sundberg
University of Helsinki
Maria Ackrén
Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland
Jan Sundberg
University of Helsinki
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Abstract

Mainland Denmark and Finland are unitary states but fulfills the role of federacies in relation to the autonomous insular regions Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The aim of this paper is to compare how these special autonomous regions are politically anchored as well on the regional as on the national level in Denmark and Finland. In federations – the federacies Denmark and Finland being special cases of this – there is no upper chamber to balance the voice of territorial units. These states are organised as unitary states except for their autonomous regions. Before autonomy was introduced the centralised power had not to take formal notice of these regions. In contrast to federal states the creation of autonomous regions was not at the outset a result of deliberative processes. Both Denmark and Finland were more or less forced to accept territorial autonomy within their borders.