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Improving the quality of government on Åland: Time for institutionalized negotiations?

Constitutions
Institutions
State Power
Ida Jansson
Lunds Universitet
Ida Jansson
Lunds Universitet
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Abstract

The longevity of the almost 100-year-old Ålandic autonomy has been attributed to, among other things, its ability to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. This position can be problematized and qualified in at least four ways: firstly, most initiatives to develop the autonomy have come from the Ålandic and not the Finnish side; secondly, the processes leading up to the adoptions of new Autonomy Acts in 1951 and 1991 as well as the current ongoing negotiations have all lasted well over a decade; thirdly, parts of the new Acts have already shortly after adoption been considered outdated; and fourth, the demands of the Ålandic parliament have never been fully met by the Finnish parliament. Based on an analysis of the committee reports and political debates preceding the adoption of the new Acts, this paper will show that the lengthy negotiations and – from an Ålandic point of view – their unsatisfying results have diminished the level of trust among Ålandic politicians towards the Finnish state and its authorities. This paper therefore suggests that an institutionalized forum for recurring informal discussions and formal negotiations could contribute to establishing predictability and trust between the autonomy and the state and, in the long run, a better quality of government.